Youth is Italian director-writer Paolo Sorrentino’s European Film Award-winning follow-up to his 2013 Foreign-Language Oscar winner The Great Beauty. The new film opened December 4 and stars Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel as two friends on holiday in the Swiss Alps. Caine plays Fred, an acclaimed composer and conductor who brings along his daughter, played by Rachel Weisz. Keitel is Mick, a filmmaker working on the screenplay for what he expects will his final important picture, but Fred has no intention of resuming his career. Reflecting on their past, the men agree that some of the most important experiences come later in life.
“It’s important for me to have collaborators who give me endless dedication,” Sorrentino says in translated voiceover for the featurette. “People who give themselves totally to the project we are working on.”
Producer Nicola Giuliano, who has worked with Sorrentino for 20 years, says the director told her in May 2013 he was working on “a little movie he had in mind that would be based in one location with two characters.” Sorrentino “wrote the script with Michael Caine in mind as the main character.”
“There was this sense of amazement in this movie for me that I absolutely love,” Caine says in the voiceover. “It’s extraordinary.” Keitel says the movie “was everything I could have imagined.”
“I got so hypnotized by the filmmaking, by the music, by the sonic kind of seduction of it all that I was in a kind of altered state,” says Weisz. “It was very, very hypnotic.” Dano describes it as “visually … stunning. Everything is so specifically chosen.”
In addition to Youth, cinematographer Luca Bigazzi worked with Sorrentino on The Great Beauty and This Must Be The Place. Most of the movie was shot in Switzerland over seven weeks with five days apiece in Venice and Rome plus two days in London.
“This movie, it just keeps flowing, and you just keep going, and going, and going, and going,” Caine adds. “And you go with it, like a river.”