Coppola’s ‘Megalopolis’: A 40-Year Dream Unveiled at Cannes

Daily News Egypt
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After 13 years, Francis Ford Coppola, the visionary director behind “The Godfather” trilogy and “Apocalypse Now,” returns with “Megalopolis,” a film he describes as a leap into the unknown.

Financed entirely by Coppola, “Megalopolis” has been 40 years in the making and is described as a “Roman epic in an imaginary decadent modern America.” The film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, has already been called everything from a folly to a disaster, but Coppola embraces the controversy. “To all of the studio big shots, I proved that I’m free and they’re not,” he says, grinning. “Because they don’t dare leap into the unknown. And I do.”

Set in a dystopian “New Rome,” the film follows an idealistic architect (Adam Driver) and a corrupt mayor (Giancarlo Esposito) battling over the city’s future. Caught between them is Julia (Nathalie Emmanuel), the architect’s partner and the mayor’s daughter.

Speaking at the film’s premiere, Coppola extended its message, pleading for “one human family” and urging the audience to question societal norms. “My dream would be that this movie could be seen on New Year’s Eve and people would — instead of saying I’m going to lose weight or I’m not going to smoke anymore…talk about: Is the society we’re living in the only one available? How can we make it better?”

“Megalopolis” is a deeply personal project for Coppola, a metaphor for America and an example of utopian filmmaking. The film, shot in Atlanta studios and New York City, was initially started in 2001 but was halted following the September 11 attacks.

Coppola, 85, sees the film as a culmination of his career. “As a species, we all have the same ancestor: we are one family,” he says. “Let’s act so that this connection is real and that our world resembles the one that we would like to see as our paradise.”

Whether “Megalopolis” succeeds in its grand ambitions remains to be seen, but it undoubtedly marks another audacious chapter in the career of one of America’s most iconic filmmakers.

 

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