The venue was the Rome Film Festival tonight, and the Oscar-winning director said his movie Youth Without Youth wouldn’t be immediately successful like Spider-Man or Shrek because he “ventured into new territories”. It’s his first movie since The Rainmaker in 1997, and Coppola’s self-described “student film.” I’m told he used young technicians, trained at his expense by experts in Hollywood, and shot on his own digital cameras which he purchased. Press reactions to the pic were mixed. “Part of being an artist who wants to look at new areas [is knowing that) it will take a while for people to be familiar with the film,” he told the reporters and critics. “I only ask you to think that my film was interesting.” The pic tells a metaphysical story about a 70-year-old Romanian professor of linguistics haunted by dreams of a lost love who miraculously becomes younger after being struck by lightning. The accident gives him abnormal intellectual abilities which attract the attention of pre-World War II Nazis and turns him into a fugitive. The film, starring Tim Roth and shot in Romania, is adapted from a novella by the Romanian philosopher-author Mircea Eliade. Coppola is currently shooting in Argentina a film called Tetro which also is bound to push the envelope. Recently, Coppola criticized Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro for not taking more risks on film. The director is experimenting now, but there was a long, long period after his major successes where he, too, just did crap.