Veronica Roth became a highly successful author while still in her early 20s, and is renowned for her young-adult book trilogy that began with <i>Divergent</i> in 2011. Roth began writing...
For years Coppola tried to get Megalopolis off the ground. When he failed to nail the sci-fi epic’s script he turned his attention to Romanian author Mircea Eliade’s novella Youth Without Youth. After years of doing Hollywood’s bidding to pay off the debts stemming from One From the Heart Coppola clearly felt an emotional connection to a story about a writer trying to complete his life’s work. When we first meet Dominic Matei (Tim Roth) in pre-World War Two Bucharest the 70-year-old professor has resigned himself to never finishing his book about the origin of language. He’s even contemplating suicide. Then he’s struck by lightning. Burned beyond recognition and initially unable to talk or move Matei stuns his doctor (Bruno Ganz) by making a full recovery. He’s also now looks and feels like a man 30 years his junior. But Matei is forced into hiding when the Nazis take an interest in his renewed youthfulness. He spends the war years in Switzerland where he works on his book with renewed vigor and uses his newfound powers to make money. But he’s not alone. Matei’s philosophical quandary--will he employs his powers for good or evil?--results in the manifestation of a double with whom he debates everything. He does find himself flesh-and-blood company when the war ends. Matei and Veronica (Alexandra Maria Lara) meet cute--he finds her in a cave hours after she too has been struck by lightning. Only his newfound soul mate now possesses the transmigrated soul of a 7th century Indian woman--and “Rupini” holds the key to Matei finishing his masterwork. Thank goodness Tim Roth dispenses with the aging makeup quickly. He wears it worse than Javier Bardem does in Love in the Time of Cholera. Once Roth’s out of his hospital bed he makes a masterful physical transformation from old man to young buck. Slowly but surely he loses his shuffle straightens his shoulders and begins to walk with all the energy and purpose of a man half his age. While finding much delight in Matei’s miraculous recovery Roth also delves into the frustrated writer’s subconscious to convey the fears suspicions and contradictions that come with being placed in such a unique situation. More important Roth never resorts to unnecessary theatrics to portray a “strange superman of the future” occasionally at odds with himself. There’s a playfulness and confidence to the double that’s missing from Matei but Roth communicates this in a subtle but powerful manner. Lara though is awfully blank as Veronica and Rupini. Yes Veronica and Rupini exist only to push Matei to his limits morally and professionally but Lara fails to at least make either woman vaguely interesting than their defined roles. As Matei’s doctor Ganz stumbles through Youth Without Youth with a look of astonishment plastered on his face. Andre Hennicke is all business as a Nazi scientist determined to get his hands on Matei. Alexandra Pirici is suitably seductive as a German spy who does get to put her hands on Matei—and inevitably pays the price for preventing Matei from becoming “a valuable human specimen.” Unlike Tucker: The Man and His Dream Youth Without Youth never draws you into its long-suffering protagonist’s plight or pursuit of excellence. It’s not because things get too outlandish. Francis Ford Coppola quickly establishes this is a Twilight Zone-ish portrait of how much a man is willing to sacrifice to complete his life’s work. Matei’s condition offers many avenues to explore. What would you do if you had 30 years shaved off your life? Unfortunately Matei is so wrapped up in his work that it’s impossible to concern yourself too much for him or his goals. Coppola never shows through Matei’s eyes how the world changes and fails to create a sense that his resurrection has any great meaning. Coppola doesn’t even examine the full extent of Matei’s powers. Matei’s initial transformation from suicidal failure to “living dead man” is compelling but that’s mostly because of the wartime intrigue to be found early in the film. Once hostilities end and Matei meets the verbose Veronica Youth Without Youth immediately becomes pretentious and protracted. And as it plods toward its inevitable conclusion you’ll not care what decision Matei will make when he must choose between Veronica and his book. And that’s the worst thing to say about a film that marks the emancipation of a true original. While this misspent Youth is not a disaster like One From the Heart Coppola needs to make better use of his newfound artistic and financial freedom. The last thing anyone wants is for him to have to whore himself out to Hollywood again.
Despite a SARS scare and last week's power blackout, the Toronto Int'l Film Festival seems to be gearing up for one of its best film forays ever. The festival, which announced the lineup Tuesday, have gathered an eclectic mix of high-end product, as well as attracted some major Hollywood players to attend, Variety reports.
Among the films being showcased: Carl Franklin's thriller Out of Time, starring Denzel Washington; Richard Linklater's comedy School of Rock, with Jack Black and Joan Cusack; Ridley Scott's con-man dramedy Matchstick Men, starring Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell; and Joel Schumacher's IRA flick Veronica Guerin, with Cate Blanchett. Director Jane Campion's erotic thriller In the Cut which stars Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo, will premiere in Toronto, bucking the New Zealand director's trend of premiering her films at the Venice Films Festival.
Variety reports other prominent festival fare include the period drama The Girl With a Pearl Earring, which is an adaptation of the Tracy Chevalier bestseller novel of the same name and stars Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth and Tom Wilkinson; Robert Altman's backstage ballet opus The Company; Miramax's Philip Roth adaptation The Human Stain directed by Robert Benton and starring Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman; and Michael Winterbottom-directed sci-fi drama Code 46, with Samantha Morton and Tim Robbins.
According to Variety, the Toronto organizers have also confirmed a long list of A-list attendees including Blanchett, Kidman, Altman, Washington and Hopkins. Having to overcome some significant obstacles such as SARS and blackouts, the festival organizers feel very confident about this year's event.
"Barring a rain of frogs or a plague of locusts, I think we're good to go," fest managing director Michele Maheux told Variety. Fest director Piers Handling also admitted that the SARS threat worried organizers, but said the show would plow on. "We went through 9/11--it was in the middle of the festival. We will roll with the punches."
The festival runs Sept. 4-13.
Divergent movie adaptation filmed for an early 2014 release
Veronica Roth became a highly successful author while still in her early 20s, and is renowned for her young-adult book trilogy that began with <i>Divergent</i> in 2011. Roth began writing in earnest while studying at Northwestern University, with her time in Chicago leading to the concept for <i>Divergent</i>, which is set in a dystopian future version of the city where teens must struggle with their place in the social classes and their own abilities. Upon its publication, the novel met with a warm reception, and many comparisons to the hugely popular <i>Hunger Games</i> books. In 2012, <i>Insurgent</i>, Roth's second installment in the series, arrived with plenty of appreciation from the franchise's predominantly young fans. The next year, the third novel, Allegiant, followed, even as shooting on the film version of <i>Divergent</i> began. Thrilled by the success of her books, Roth continued the trilogy's tales in a collection of short stories that once again showed her commitment to tense youth-oriented fiction. <p>Raised in the well-to-do Chicago suburb of Barrington, Illinois, Roth opted to attend Northwestern University, based largely on the excellent reputation of its writing program. While at the school, the highly motivated young writer began her debut novel, <i>Divergent</i>, a futuristic tale that focuses on teen protagonist Tris, who must take a series of tests to find out what faction of society she belongs in. Conflict arises when it's discovered that she's "divergent," meaning that she is equally suited for multiple paths. Like Suzanne Collins' <i>Hunger Games</i> novels, <i>Divergent</i> tapped into the youthful quest for identity and self-reliance, among other themes, and became a huge hit, with Roth selling the film rights prior to any sequels. Roth let the plot thicken with <i>Insurgent</i>, which finds Tris and her allies in further perilous situations, and brought the series to an apparent end with Allegiant. Meanwhile, buzzed-about young actress Shailene Woodley was cast as Tris in the "Divergent" movie, with Neil Burger tapped as director for the eagerly anticipated 2014 movie, which received Roth's enthusiastic support. </p><p> </p>
"I've always loved the dystopian genre. My introduction to it was 'The Giver' by Lois Lowry, which is a powerful book, and then '1984' by George Orwell and 'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley. But I never sat down and thought, I want to write a dystopian YA book." -- from Goodreads, Dec. 2011
"As a teenager, I put a lot of pressure on myself, and a lot of that, for me, was about finding a moral high ground. As I've grown up, I've decided to abandon that because it made me judgmental and also stressed me out. There's really no way to be perfect. Perfectionism is a silly trait to have, so in a lot of ways that inspired the world of "Divergent," in which everyone is striving toward that ideal and falling short of it." -- from Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2012
"I wrote these books at a point when I was growing up. Senior year in college, about to do what Tris [the protagonist] does, she's making decisions about what she's going to do with the rest of her life, and Tris's decisions are comparable to maybe choosing a college, but also to choosing a life path." -- from Elle, Aug. 20, 2013