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Sunday, October 21--------The excitement on the Red Carpet last evening was not for a big time movie star or even a local Italian celebrity, but for a film giant, with decidedly Italian roots. Francis Ford Coppola, the iconic director of such classics as THE GODFATHER trilogy, THE CONVERSATION and APOCALYPSE NOW, is being honored here with the greatest respect and awe. His newest film YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH had its World Premiere last evening at the Festival’s Sala Santa Cecilia, the largest of the five theater spaces at the Auditorium of the Parco della Musica.

This is Coppola’s first feature film effort in ten years (his last was THE RAINMAKER in 1997), produced by his Zoetrope Films banner. In truth, Coppola has concentrated his efforts in the past decade on his wine and other entrepernurial businesses, and assisting his daughter Sophia Coppola and nephew Jason Schwartzman chart their own careers in Hollywood’s treacherous, shark-infested waters.  YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH is unlike any other film in the celebrated director’s career. It is an obviously Italian cinema-influenced parable parable set during World War II, which contains stylistic and inspirational nods to the great masters of Italian cinema, including Robert Rossellini, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Michaelangelo Antonioni, whom Coppola freely admits have inspired his own moviemaking in the past three decades. Tim Roth stars as Dominic Matei, an elderly professor whose mysterious rejuvenation heightens his intelligence and whose apparent immortality makes him a target for the Nazis. "It is a love story wrapped in a mystery," Coppola has said in interviews. The professor’s ability to cheat death stirs the interests of Nazi officers and scientists. The film, which was filmed in Romania, is adapted from a prize-winning novella by author Mircea Eliade. The director also adapted the screenplay, which he has not done on a feature film project in decades. The film also stars an all-star cast of European film talents, including Alexandra Maria Lara, Bruno Ganz, Andre M. Hennicke, Marcel Iures and Alexandra Pirici.  

The independently produced project was shot in Romania over 18 months and was produced independently with Coppola himself providing the financing.”I was so excited to discover, in this tale by Mircea Eliade, the key themes that I most hope to understand better: time, consciousness and the dream-like basis of reality”, Coppola remarked in a recent interview. “For me, it is indeed a return to the ambitions I had for work in cinema as a student." The film is slated to open theatrically in Europe next month and is being sold internationally by Pathe International. YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH will open in the United States in mid December, in time for awards season consideration, by arthouse powerhouse Sony Pictures Classics.


Sandy Mandelberger, Rome FF Dailies Editor


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Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

Online Dailies of CINEMA: Rome Film Fest: October 18-27, 2007


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