Francis Ford Coppola's 'Megalopolis' Premieres After 40 Years

Francis Ford Coppola’s magnum opus, “Megalopolis,” was decades in the making, but the timing of its 77th Cannes Film Festival debut couldn’t be more fitting.

The 77th Cannes Film Festival commenced on Tuesday, May 14, and will run until May 25. It is set to showcase an array of films filled with cultural richness and riveting storylines. Among these would be Francis Ford Coppola’s latest work, Megalopolis, which, believe it or not, has been decades in the making. The epic film explores societal collapse and human resilience, reflecting the director’s enduring passion and timely storytelling.

Megalopolis marked a triumphant return for Coppola, despite grappling with setbacks revolving around funds and other controversies. However, he remained steadfast in his commitment to bring his magnum opus to life.

READ ALSO: For The Cinephiles: 5 Must-Watch Flicks At The 77th Cannes Film Festival 

The plot

Megalopolis shows a futuristic setting where various social, political, and economic forces collide. An ambitious architect sought to build a utopian cityscape in New York that reflects his ideal civilization. However, the city mayor is determined to maintain the status quo.

The film involves a romantic subplot involving the mayor’s daughter, who must choose between love and loyalty to her father.

Megalopolis explores power, corruption, and the pursuit of perfection with tensions between creativity and control. 

What makes it so timely

A report from Reuters stated that Coppola had no idea Megalopolis would relate to the United States’ political landscape. 

Coppola said during a news conference that he had no idea that the themes have contemporary relevance. He likened America’s current political climate to the fall of the Roman Republic. 

Coppola directed “Megalopolis,” a film with thought-provoking narratives that spark discussion on improving society
Coppola directed “Megalopolis,” a film with thought-provoking narratives that spark discussion on improving society/Photo from IMDb

“What’s happening in America, in our republic and our democracy, is exactly how Rome lost their republic thousands of years ago,” Coppola remarked. “Our politics has taken us to the point where we might lose our republic. Artists, not politicians, are going to be the answer because they shine a light on contemporary life.”

The acclaimed director further said the film aims to inspire a collective conversation that could improve society. It will allow people to feel hope for the future.

Decades in the making

Coppola started conceptualizing the film in the early 1980s. The Guardian mentioned he wrote the screenplay for Megalopolis in 1983. It is Coppola’s passion project, to which he was willing to fund it with his own money and continued it despite certain obstacles.

According to the report, Megalopolis has been announced, delayed and abandoned multiple times. Footages were shot then discarded several instances as well. 

Coppola expressed he shelled out $120 million out of his own pocket to fund the project as per The Hollywood Reporter. He faced other problems on set, such as key creatives being fired along the way and the controversies saying he did unwanted advances to actresses. The film also reportedly had visual effects issues. While he did not address the allegations, he admitted he dove right into it regardless of the costs and its repercussions to his family. 

Coppola’s film wrapped up last year and has been more than 40 years in the making
Coppola’s film wrapped up last year and has been more than 40 years in the making/Photo via Instagram @megalopolisfilm

“My children, without exception, have wonderful careers without a fortune,” he explained. “We are fine. It doesn’t matter. All of you here: The money doesn’t matter. What is important are the friends. A friend will never let you down. The money may evaporate.”

Production wrapped up last year, and the 77th Cannes Film Festival seemed like the perfect venue for its premiere.

Banner photo from IMDb.

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