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By Milan Paurich | Posted 9/16/2009

Francis Ford Coppola's follow-up to his virtually unwatchable 2007 debacle Youth Without Youth is the 70-year-old director's finest work in almost two decades. Taken from Coppola's first original screenplay since 1974's The Conversation, this grandly operatic tale of two siblings (a remarkably, impressively restrained Vincent Gallo and sensational newcomer Alden Ehrenreich) with daddy issues (Klaus Maria Brandauer plays their imperious orchestra-conductor father) is both loving homage to the heady days of the French New Wave and a glorious throwback to the kind of tempestuous Oedipal dramas Hollywood vets Nicholas Ray and Elia Kazan made back in the 1950s. Spectacularly shot in widescreen, cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr.'s high-contrast, black-and-white digital video images are a feast for the senses. Co-starring Y tu mamá también's Maribel Verdú (terrific as Gallo's pragmatic common-law wife) and Almodóvar diva extraordinaire Carmen Maura, it's a self-contained film festival. Anyone who cares about the state of world cinema can't afford to miss it.

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