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Youth without Youth

4.0 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Francis Ford Coppola returns to the realm of his mastery with a film about growing young. Lightning strikes Dominic Matei (Tim Roth) so close to death that he ages backwards from 70 to 40 in a week, attracting the world and the Nazis. Now he's on the run with a new love for life, but with no hope of knowing his phenomenal fate.

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Francis Ford Coppola returns to directing for the first time in a decade with the fascinating if perplexing Youth Without Youth, a kind of science-fiction tale of mythic proportions based on a novella by the late Romanian historian and religion scholar Mircea Eliade. Tim Roth stars as elderly linguist Dominic Matei, whose life work--uncovering the roots of human language--has been stymied throughout his long and undistinguished career. Struck by lightning while crossing a Bucharest street in 1938, Matei not only survives but goes through a physical transformation, reverting to the age of 35 and remaining ageless for decades to come. Trying to remain incognito, Matei is pursued in Europe by Nazi intelligence as well as journalists, acquiring strange powers and communicating with a sort of psychological double of himself. Throughout, Matei finds himself unable to escape a cyclical destiny, particularly when he falls for a woman (Alexandra Maria Lara)--physically! similar to a lost love in his pre-lightning life--whose apparent possession by ancient, Indian deities is useful to his work but dangerous to her. The episodic film lurches along with the logic of a dream siphoned into waking life, a constantly shifting consciousness that suggests Matei exists in several planes of experiential reality simultaneously. Coppola has been down this hallucinatory road before, perhaps most spectacularly in Apocalypse Now. But it is not hard to see how Youth Without Youth is a very personal film for him and somewhat of a parallel to his career, which seems rejuvenated with the release of this complex movie, so full of the kind of technical and stylistic flourishes that brought Coppola legions of admirers and detractors years ago. --Tom Keogh

Stills from Youth Without Youth (click for larger image)










Beyond Youth Without Youth


On Blu-ray

Soundtrack CD

Paperback Book


Special Features

  • Commentary with Director Francis Ford Coppola
  • Making of Youth Without Youth
  • "The Music for Youth Without Youth" Featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Tim Roth, Bruno Ganz, Anamaria Marinca, André M. Hennicke, Dan Astilean
  • Directors: Francis Ford Coppola, Francis Coppola
  • Producers: Francis Ford Coppola, Francis Coppola
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 13, 2008
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0014FAIZC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,490 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Youth without Youth" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 31, 2008
Format: DVD
YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH is for this viewer one of the most creative and genuinely intelligent and beautiful films to be released in some time. Francis Ford Coppola has utilized the finest points of his gifts as a movie creator and the result is a mesmerizing, quasi-hallucinatory exploration of the fine book by the Romanian writer Mircea Eliade. Not only is Coppola's screenplay challenging and complex, it is also a well-developed guide to making visual the concept of Eliade's at times perplexing story. The cinematography by Mihai Malaimare Jr. is moody and captures the surrealism of the tale, and the musical score is by the great contemporary composer Osvaldo Golijov who has taken every element of Romania mysticism and culture and translated them into a miraculous musical brocade.

Dominic Matei (Tim Roth in a brilliant performance) is a 70-year-old professor whose sheltered life has been spent in his thwarted exploration of the origin of language. The old man is struck by lightning and survives under the care of puzzled physicians and as he shows signs of life, Professor Stanciulescu (Bruno Ganz) is at his side, helping Matei to learn to communicate and eventually accompany him through his complete recovery. Matei grows young in appearance and is able to time travel through the decimation WW II brought to his native Bucharest, altering his identity as he is given a second chance at a life he never experienced, a life that includes a love affair with a woman who closely resembles his early love Laura and now falls in love with him as Veronica (Alexandra Maria Lara). In a Dorian Gray mode Matei lives for years as an ageless man, able to communicate with his 'double' who is visible only to Matei.
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I don't know if you're into metaphysics, mythology, psychology, and Eastern philosophy. If these things interest you, you will probably love this movie.

Based on the book by Mircea Eliade, who has explored many cultures, and religious paths, who has written books on alchemy and about shamanism, and spirituality, Youth without Youth trips through the wires of your higher consciousness.

As you watch, the captivating images that unfold onscreen, immediately make you aware that you are not dealing with an ordinary filmmaker. If you press the subtitles button, what you see is not subtitles but a readable commentary by Francis Ford Coppola, which I found added to my understanding. He explains how the lightning is awakening. He mentions Prometheus, and Frankenstein's monster being created by lightning. I thought about Saul being converted by a lightning strike.

Dominic Matei, old and bitter, is struck by lightning. He regresses in age to become a young man. Nurses notice his virility with pleasure. His intelligence grows. Sinister people want to tap his potentiality. He sees another version of himself in the mirror, a duality, but is it conflicting, or does it open doors. He meets a woman, who looks like the love of his life, but is a totally different woman. They engage. They travel.

Along the way the mind, (I loved the four probabilites) reincarnation, linguistics, bridging the gap between dream and reality, and consciousness are explored through Dominic reexperiencing youth without youth.

I had a great dream after seeing this, that paralelled the movie. I was not struck by lightning, but I did get an electric shock. It seemed significant. I don't know if you will have a dream after seeing this movie.
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This breathtakingly sensitive and humanistic story is beautifully filmed with loving care by FFC. The foil for the touching exploration and esoteric examination of the human condition is the backdrop of Nazi aggression and genocide during WW2. Normally I share basic opinions of the most published film critics regarding films they review. I could not disagree more with the prevailing opinions of published reviews I have read regarding this film. FFC has set a very high standard for script writers and directors who want to create worthwhile innovative cinematic art.
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Format: DVD
****1/2 2007. Based on Mircea Eliade's Youth Without Youth, this film was written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Struck by a lightning, a 70 years old Romanian teacher survives and is rewarded by the ability to live a second life that will allow him to assimilate the whole human Knowledge. This is a haunting movie dealing with important themes such as time, love, oldness or Man's origin, it kept me awake late last night long after its ending. I wouldn't qualify this film as arty because its form and its story aren't incomprehensible for the lambda viewer. The themes handled by the director are intellectually demanding but their exposition is very simple; that's the mark of a great director. Highly recommended.
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This is a film based on a book. Sometimes books make for great movies. Other times, they lead to movies that seem too short for the material that was in the book. This movie gives that impression. The plot of the film has an interesting premise, namely, the experiences of a man who has the opportunity to continue his academic career without aging after a freak accident. Unfortunately, the movie does not do a good job of developing the back story or some additional plot lines. The professor who suffers this fortunate accident had a lost love who seems to have been reincarnated. Unfortunately, we don't get much of the back story, so the impact of his meeting her is lessened. There is a secondary plot about his research into ancient languages which is aided by his girlfriend's regression into past lives that allows her speak extinct languages. Again, this seems like a fertile plot line that hasn't been very well-developed in the movie which lessons the impact. The characters are well-acted and are interesting in many ways, and the scenery is engaging. Overall, this film is just different enough to hold the viewer's interest, but it seems like there are a lot of gaps or missed opportunities that lead to an ending that is less engaging than it could have been. It seems as though what would be a number of important themes in the book just don't come through terribly clearly in the movie. Aside from this, it's a watchable film and is worth checking out.
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