Opening 10 Jul 2008
Acclaimed film director Francis Ford Coppola re-appears, after a ten year sabbatical from the big screen arena, with his project Youth Without Youth. The novella written by Mircea Eliade is the main premise with which Coppola attempts to captivate an audience of post moderns entranced with philosophical themes.
Coppola’s screenplay is set in the 1930s. He tells of the freak accident which occurred to seventy-year-old Professor Stanciulescu (Bruno Ganz), a revered Romanian linguistic professor. He is struck down by lightning and burned so severely that he can not be identified. The medical staff that cared for him was able to stabilize his condition and after several months restore him to health, for which he was grateful. Upon his release from the hospital he still had no identity and noticed at a glance in the hospital mirror that he looked drastically thirty years younger. The shock of his appearance frightened him! The unexplainable phenomenon from the electric shock was beyond comprehension. He wondered how he would be able to regain his identity of the life he knew as an aged man, but the thought of being able to re-live half of his life a new person was thrilling. He takes on a temporal identity as Dominic (Tim Roth), who doubles as his alter ego. The choices he makes to alter his past or recreate it is the journey which Coppola visualizes and asks, “What would be the cause and effect if allowed to re-live half of one’s life over?”.
The storyline parallels similar experiences told by Rod Sterling in the 1960’s U.S. television series The Twilight Zone. The only thing missing in Coppola’s film is the series’ theme jingle. The series focused on ordinary people who found themselves in extraordinary and often supernatural situations which changed their existence. Coppola has captured one form of the extraordinary which asks more questions than gives answers. (Karen Pecota)