Review of Youth (2015)
Seen in 2020.
An octogenarian composer initially refuses to leave retirement to get a British knighthood. He hangs out with his film-director buddy, also nearing 80. They keep each other posted on their prostate troubles and think about life.
Very good temps mort, beautiful Swiss scenery and a few nice jokes, but it’s all very self-conscious. It’s transparently about the stardom of Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel and, to a lesser extent, Jane Fonda, who appears more briefly in the last quarter. There is irony, but mainly from Caine. Keitel’s younger colleagues and protégées are seen brainstorming ideas for his last film, and these ideas are only as good as what went into Youth: Pretentious theatrical deepities like deprecating levity and forgetting everything from your childhood except the first time you rode a bike, from the proverb that knowing how to ride a bike cannot be forgotten. As is to be expected from this attitude, the incongruous Buddhist is seen levitating: Fabulism as just another joke. As is also to be expected from a male-centric French-Italian arthouse production with full front nudity, the feminism reads like lip service. The camera work is nice, but the flourishes of CGI in post really mar that craft.
References here: A Cure for Wellness (2016).