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Megalopolis by F.F. Coppola


Megalopolis” directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Screened in the official selection at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.



“Megalopolis” is a Roman epic set in a decaying imaginary modern America.

The city of New Rome must change, leading to a major conflict between Caesar Catilina, a genius artist with the power to stop time, and the ultra-conservative mayor Franklyn Cicero.

And it’s the former dreams of an ideal utopian future, while the latter is deeply attached to a regressive status quo that protects greed, privilege, and private militias.

The mayor’s daughter and socialite, Julia Cicero, in love with Caesar Catilina, is torn between the two men and must discover what seems best for the future of humanity.



The disappointment is proportional to the anticipation we had.

Francis Ford Coppola is known for the Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now, Outsiders, Dracula, Tetro, Twixt…

His family members, including his son Roman, his sister Talia Shire, his daughter Sofia Coppola, and his nephews Nicolas Cage and Jason Schwartzman, have also accompanied us on both TV and in theaters. .


The Beginnings of the Project

Francis Ford Coppola began developing “Megalopolis” in the early 1980s.

The plot is inspired by his discovery of the Catiline Conspiracy, events that took place in 63 BC: a Roman nobleman, Lucius Sergius Catilina, planned to overthrow the Roman Republic.

Had his coup d’état succeeded, it would have ousted the ruling class and erased the debts of the lower classes—and his own in the process.

In 2019, he announced he was working on a long-standing project titled “Megalopolis.”

A blend of science fiction and philosophical tale, the film, self-financed by Coppola with a substantial budget, was launched in 2024 during the competition for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, marking Coppola’s return to competition forty-five years after Apocalypse Now.

At 85 years old, the director wanted to film “Megalopolis” before he died.

And he indulged himself. The film’s budget is $120 million, which he financed alone by mortgaging part of his vineyards.


Re-Inventing New York

Francis Ford Coppola states (from in the press kit):

“When you go to New York, you can’t help but be struck by the influence of Roman architecture. My intention was to write a Roman epic set in a contemporary New York that sought to replicate ancient Rome. I was interested in an event known as the ‘Catiline Conspiracy,’ based on the idea that contemporary America is the modern equivalent of ancient Rome, and that the Catiline Conspiracy, as told by the historian Sallust, could take place in the United States today—just as the plot of Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ was transposed to the Vietnam War context in ‘Apocalypse Now.'”


What About the Story?

Very beautiful, far too long (2h28), “Megalopolis” tells the story of an idealistic inventor, Caesar Catalina, played by Adam Driver, who wants to change the world through artificial intelligence.

The first scene features Caesar Catalina stopping time. Magical, we then await the rest.

But the film is a deluge of shots, very beautiful indeed, where all arts are represented: comic books, dance, music, singing…and it’s very quickly too much.

The viewer experiences an overdose of colors, screams, different settings every thirty seconds, and stupid characters to whom one cannot get attached.


What About the Characters?

Does Francis Ford Coppola like the characters he stages?

It’s a real question because even if we love “The Godfather” or “Apocalypse Now,” its main characters often repulse us.

In “Megalopolis”, the actors spend their time shouting at each other, the music is loud, and the back-and-forth between characters is incomprehensible.

The characters just act without us understanding their motivation.


An Out-of-the-Ordinary Film


“Megalopolis” could have been made without following cinematic conventions and still been successful.

Despite its ambition, it collapses due to a lack of content. The money spent is evident. And that may be the problem.

Films with excessive budgets don’t necessarily make the best films (see Avatar 2, Marvel films, or recent Star Wars). “Megalopolis” collapses due to a lack of substance in a half-peplum, half-science fiction style.

Women only serve as foils to the male roles; again (see Oh Canada), the film does not pass the Bechdel test.

Francis Ford Coppola warns us about artificial intelligence, climate change, and the rise of fascism.

These themes deserved more depth. Seeing poor people crushed against a gate is not enough to move us.

The apocalypse is now before our eyes. Wake up, he seems to tell us. Idealistic, Francis Ford Coppola believes in human goodness. Unfortunately, his film is cold, and despite the quality of the cast, it evokes no emotion.

The director indulged himself. Period.



No distribution date, neither in France nor abroad.























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