Youth Without Youth * Francis Ford Coppola (2007)

Youth Without YouthI rented this film because of the director and the information on the box, but when the opening titles started, I noticed that this film is based on a novel of Mircea Eliade. I knew that this scholar on the fields of comparative religion and comparative mythology also wrote novels and I even remember reading that one of them has been made into a film (three actually), but I had not connected Eliade and Coppola (I guess I forgot) or I did not remember this when I picked out the film. It immediately rose extra interest in watching it. Eliade’s book is called Tinereţe fără (1976) which supposedly translates exactly how Coppola named his film. We follow Dominic Matei (Tim Roth!, great acting), a student who later became a famous linguist always hunting for the origin of language. There is a lot that almost seems (semi)autobiographical of Eliade. Matei was born in Romenia, the story plays in the period of the two world wars, Matei is interested in different religions, particularly those of the East, he has to leave Romenia and continues his research using unconventional, even metaphysical methods. During the film you get all kinds of scholarly information on Eliade(-aligned) fields, dreamy esotericism, futuristic science, weird characters and deep philosophy. Coppola has managed very well to give his film an appropriate atmosphere and to make an interesting film with ‘difficult elements’. I think this film will appeal to people who like the “esoteric” novel and film genres that seem to be quite popular nowadays (but I do not have the idea that the actual books of Eliade are as well, even though this one for example, is available in English). “Youth Without Youth” surely is a good film, but be sure not to read too much about it before watching it, since even the back of the box gives away the ‘clue’.

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