Francis Ford Coppola Warns that US Politics Could Threaten the Republic at Cannes 2024



Director Francis Ford Coppola has warned that the U.S. is headed for a self-inflicted collapse similar to that of the Roman Republic, which it sought to emulate in its founding principles. Speaking at the premiere of his latest film “Megalopolis”, Coppola commented on the state of U.S. politics, stating that it may cause the country to lose its republic. He also expressed concerns about the current state of the film industry, claiming that it has become more about meeting debt obligations than creating quality movies.

US Mirroring the Fall of Roman Republic, Warns Director Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola, the award-winning director, warned the US is on the brink of a self-inflicted downfall similar to the collapse of the Roman Republic, at the Cannes Film Festival. “What’s happening in America, in our republic, in our democracy, is exactly how Rome lost their republic thousands of years ago,” said Coppola. He pointed out parallels between the governmental structures of ancient Rome and the US, both of which aimed to avoid monarchy.

Megalopolis Inspired by Roman Republic

Coppola’s latest film, Megalopolis, takes its inspiration from the Catiline conspiracy to disrupt the Roman Republic’s rule in 63BC. The film, set in a futuristic New York-like city, premiered at Cannes. Although Coppola began developing this passion project in the 1980s, he acknowledged the political relevancy of the film has heightened in recent years. “My feeling was to make a Roman epic set in modern America, and I had no idea that the politics of today would make that so relevant”.

US Political Culture and Film Industry on the Decline

Coppola voiced concerns over the rise in neo-right and fascist ideologies globally, warning against repeating the horrors of World War II. He also noticed a downward trend in the US film industry. “The film industry has become more a matter of people being hired to meet their debt obligations, because the studios are in great debt,” he said. He warned that traditional studios might vanish in the future as newer companies like Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft step in temporarily to finance Hollywood.

Mixed Reviews for Megalopolis

Megalopolis received a mixed response, with critics calling it a “bloated, boring and bafflingly shallow film” and a “messy, imaginative sprawl” that contained “gorgeous, poetic images”. Despite the critique, Coppola expressed no regret about the $120m project that he largely self-financed. “There are many people, when they die, they say: ‘Oh, I wish I had done this, I wish I had done that’. But when I die, I’m going to say: ‘I’ve got to do this and I’ve got to see my daughter win an Oscar and I’ve got to make wine and I’ve got to make every movie I wanted to make”.

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