Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) has acquired North American rights to Francis Ford Coppola's first film in 10 years, the mystery Youth Without Youth.

Coppola directed, produced and adapted the screenplay from a novella by Romanian author Mircea Eliade about an elderly professor who undergoes a mysterious rejuvenation that makes him a Nazi target during the second world war.

Tim Roth stars alongside Alexandra Maria Lara, Bruno Ganz, Andre M Hennicke, Marcel Lures, and newcomer Alexandra Pirici.

SPC plans a late autumn release on the SRG Atelier, Pricel, and BIM Distribuzione co-production and American Zoetrope presentation.

'It is a love story wrapped in a mystery,' Coppola said. 'This film was conceived and completed independently. It was made with a small team that worked intensively in Romania for a year and a half.

'The story revolves around the key themes that I most hope to understand better: time, consciousness, and the dreamlike basis of reality.

'I consider Sony Classics the pre-eminent distributor of fine film-making. Following in a tradition begun at the side of Arthur Krim, through the excellence of UA and Orion Classics, Michael Barker and Tom Bernard remain for me the ultimate authority of what I consider true cinema - ambitious and satisfying personal films that take their place alongside traditions of literature and art.'

SPC co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard said: 'Youth Without Youth is what we call a full meal, satisfying in all departments. It is personal, sweeping, and entertaining. It is unlike anything we've seen before.

'It is the kind of innovative movie we've come to appreciate from new successful independent film-makers while at the same time possessing a mastery of story, sound, and visuals that you can only get from a Francis Coppola movie.'

Anahid Nazarian and Fred Roos served as executive producers.