Coppola admits something of his own life in his latest film

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ANTALYA, Oct 25 (UNI) Renowned director Francis Ford Coppola said tales told in ancient Indian scriptures in Sanskrit are very simple myths in themselves but hold very deep meaning.

He told UNI that these tales showed a larger philosophical aspect to life than the western mind often comprehended.

Coppola was referring to latest film 'Youth Without Youth' (his first movie since "The Rainmaker" in 1997) which has used Sanskrit shlokas and conversation in that language as a major highlight of the film.

The film is a metaphysical story about a 70-year old professor Dominic Matei (played by Tim Roth) who gets magical powers that transform him back to a 30-year old youth after he is hit by a bolt of lightning on Easter Sunday in 1938. The Nazis learn about this and want him, and he has to escape by taking on a new identity.

And his own dreams of unfulfilled love torment him since he had not been able to marry the woman he had loved in his younger days.

This gets fulfilled when he finds a mystical woman who appears to hang between her present and past lives.

Coppola adapted, produced and directed the film based on the 1976 novel by Romanian-born religious historian and philosopher Mircea Eliade. The film also stars Alexandra Maria Lara, Bruno Ganz, Andre M. Hennicke, Marcel Iures, and introduces Alexandra Pirici, and Matt Damon makes a cameo appearance.

Answering a question about the research involved in extensive use of Sanskrit and the shooting in India, Coppola said that Mircea Eliade was a renowned Orientalist. The film, which has been shot mostly in Romania, also has some sequences shot in Mumbai.

Asked why he had started with the story of the professor but half-way through it got transformed into the story of a woman, Coppola said he had himself realised this while reading the book.

''I also felt a jump and thought may be one page was torn from the book'', he quipped but added ''stories grow out of each other, much like the petals of a flower''.

Earlier addressing a press conference, he denied that he had bid a goodbye to films and that this was his comeback. He said he had merely decided to concentrate on his wine business for some time and also to work out a screenplay based on a personal story.

However, everything changed when the attack on the Twin Towers came and so he abandoned that project to look for another. ''While writing a screenplay, I was also assessing my own place in cinema. I was already 65 and did not know what my place was and what I should do.'' He wanted to be like Ingmar Bergman who could make the kind of films he liked without having to worry about financers etc. He wanted to give a new kind of experience to his viewers since he felt that the films were becoming either re-makes or repetitive. Too many films were being made and budgets were skyrocketing.

When he saw the story by Mircea Eliade, he thought it was like the story of Faust and he liked the interesting ideas of existence, and re-birth.

He admitted in reply to a question that he saw something of himself in the story of the main character as he was also on a voyage of discovering himself.

Asked a question about making films steeped in reality and particularly the Iraq war, Coppola said that if he ever made a film about Iraq, it would be a ''peaceful'' one. I would try and find something peaceful and beautiful.

He added that he loved to make love stories with some mystery attached to them. He said at the age of 68, he was happy that he could now make the kind of films he wanted without having to worry about the commercial gains.

He said that while his film was not made on a low budget, he had learnt to ensure there was no waste.

In answer to another question, he said his film 'Apocolypse Now' had been described as the film trade press (which he described as the 'sports press') as trash, but the film had gone on to create history.

He admitted that he had glorified war in that film, and romanticised criminal dons in 'The Godfather', but said he would never make a film on a mafia don who killed for the sake of killing and had no family values.


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