Youth without Youth

Without much sense.

I went DVD shopping this afternoon, grabbing copies of Seinfeld and 30 Rock. I also bought Youth without Youth, which, being about a linguist, piqued my interest. In the story, Tim Roth plays Dominic Matei who at the age of 70 is struck by lightning. Instead of dying, he regenerates and gains various powers. He continues his work and eventually meets the reincarnation of his girlfriend who is also struck by lightning and starts speaking Sanskrit. But her condition degenerates as she progressively speaks languages from further and further back in time. Eventually, Matei himself succumbs to old age and is found dead in the snow. In his hand appears a rose from a set of three that were shown earlier in the film.

I must admit I didn’t really understand the message in this film. Is it meant to be based on Buddhism with Roth’s character being reincarnated as a higher level being, but being dragged back to the material plane because he hasn’t given up on his girlfriend? Is his inability to complete his magnum opus another way of saying that he’s unable to attain enlightenment?

However, I’m just guessing. If I knew the particular philosophy Coppola was peddling, I might understand it better.

Overall, rather dull; a little retro in that it felt like it should’ve been made in the 70s (the opening sequence felt so dated that I was surprised to find the film was released in 2007); perhaps it might be better to read the book first. Or just read the book. (See Mircea Elaide entry on wikipedia for further info. It appears that if you’re familiar with his philosophical ideas, this film will make more sense.)


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