CANNES: Francis Ford Coppola did not know how relevant “Megalopolis” (a sci-fi epic which is an allegory for the fall of the Roman Republic), would become to US politics when he first began developing the concept decades ago. The legendary auteur made these remarks at the annual ‘Cannes Film Festival’.

Coppola wished to do a ‘Roman epic set’ in modern America. “But I had no idea that the politics of today would make that so relevant” Coppola told a news conference, on Friday.

This was only a day after his decades-in-the-making passion project, premiered on the world stage.

“Because what’s happening in America, in our republic and our democracy, is exactly how Rome lost their republic thousands of years ago” said the director of “The Godfather”.

“Our politics has taken us to the point where we might lose our republic.” Artists, not politicians, are going to be the answer, he added, because “they shine a light on contemporary life”.

The film which is ‘loosely inspired’ by an attempted coup during the Roman Republic, follows Cesar Catilina, who is an architect-scientist played by the actor Adam Driver. He goes head-to-head with the order-loving mayor of New Rome, played by Giancarlo Esposito, in a bid to turn his utopian vision into reality.

“Towards the end of the movie last night I started, I came to tears because all of a sudden I got it. I’m not supposed to know everything.

I’m not supposed to know all the answers” said Esposito. The film fails to offer a clear answer to all the questions it raises but instead aims to inspire a ‘collective conversation’ on how to improve society.

This in turn allows people to feel hope for the future, he explained at a news conference.

Coppola began developing the film’s concept in the early 1980s and shared that he had “no words” to describe the emotion he felt, upon “finally seeing the finished product on the big screen”.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2024

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