It is Francis Ford Coppola's first movie in a decade, and the Oscar-winning director said Saturday that audiences should be in no hurry before deciding if "Youth Without Youth" is good or bad.
"Youth Without Youth" is Coppola's first movie since "The Rainmaker" in 1997. It was having its public premiere Saturday evening at the Rome Film Festival.
At an earlier screening for the press, reactions were mixed, and Coppola asked people to see it more than once.
"When you venture into new territories ... you know that it's different than 'Spider-Man' or 'Shrek' or other films that are immediately met with success. So, 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 said. "I only ask you to think that my film was interesting."
Turned into a fugitive, he is also tormented by dreams of his lost love.
With intensity, Tim Roth plays the professor struggling with old age and the promises of a new youth.
The movie "begins with an older man who feels his life has not led to his goal, his desire to finish a great work and he is still haunted by dreams of the young girl he foolishly lost when he was younger," Coppola told reporters. "He wakes up and weeps, as I'm sure many old people do who find themselves alone."
The film, shot in Romania, is adapted from a novella by the Romanian philosopher-author Mircea Eliade.