1938, Romania: at 70, a professor of language and philosophy, Dominic Matei, contemplates suicide: the love of his life is dead, and he remains unable to complete his life’s work on the origins of language.
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A lightning strike reverses the aging of a 70-year-old man at the same time the spark of digital cinema signals Coppola's own rebirth. Coppola's literary, musical and philosophical ruminations have rarely been so evocatively combined with his equal love of cinema history, of which he immodestly but rightly sees himself a part. A great, woefully unheralded late-period resurrection.
I liked the second act best, with the Nazis and the espionage. However, the magic-realism elements at the beginning and end were lost on me. It isn't that I don't appreciate such ideas; I just couldn't see how the whole thing was supposed to fit together. Maybe, in a few years time, I'll have a better understanding of it. For now I will commend Coppola for making something that looks and feels profoundly beautiful.
A non cohesive and flawed experiment with some incredibly poignant moments, a haunting love story and a score to die for. Tim Roth is a very gifted and highly underrated actor, capable of transmiting sorrow and anxiety quite easily. I only wish Coppola had concentrated on structure and pace a little bit more.
Had liked this quite a lot when I first saw it a few years back. It doesn't hold up so well on second viewing, but is still compelling. Made more of visual than ideas, or to put it more precisely, its ideas are better felt through the images than conveyed through the words.