Adam Driver Sex Tape, Shia LaBeouf in Drag and Dominatrix Aubrey Plaza Land Divisive ‘Megalopolis’ a 7-Minute Standing Ovation at Cannes

Is Francis Ford Coppola’s controversial magnum opus “Megalopolis” any good?

The two hour and 20 minute dystopian drama certainly divided the audience at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday night with its collision course of shocking scenes: a doctored sex tape featuring Adam Driver, Shia LaBeouf in drag playing a Trumpian figure and Aubrey Plaza dominating her way through a slew of men.

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But there was still a huge amount of respect for iconic director Coppola, who received a four-minute standing ovation upon entering the room. After the credits rolled — which included a tribute to his late wife Eleanor — and the standing ovation began, Coppola hugged Driver and Giancarlo Esposito and got emotional as he made a speech dedicating the film to hope and family.

“Thank you all so much. It is so impossible to find words to tell you how I feel,” Coppola said, then introducing his family members in the audience. “But they were not the only family because all of these wonderful actors and folks were all my family. As Cesar [Driver’s character in the film] says, we’re all one family. You’re all my cousins. We are one. We are the human family. As you see at the end, that’s who we should pledge our allegiance to: our entire family and to this beautiful home, Earth, that we have. That is my wish. That it’s the children who are going to inherit this beautiful world from us. The most important word we have is the most beautiful word in any language: ‘esperanza.’ Hope. And that’s what I dedicate this to.”

Speaking of family, Coppola was flanked by his sister Talia Shire and granddaughter Romy Mars — known for her viral TikTok about her parents, Sofia Coppola and “Phoenix” frontman Thomas Mars, not letting her charter a helicopter — who has a small role in the film.

“Megalopolis” has confounded critics and Coppola fans alike for its wide scope and deep allegory for the director’s career. There was even a moment during the film, when Driver’s character was being interviewed by the press, that a man came on stage to speak the dialogue of the scene into a microphone. The lights came on, startling some in the audience, but viewers stayed silent, as they had for most of the movie.

Earlier, though, the body language from the stars and their maestro on the red carpet indicated something unusual. Coppola, 85 years old and holding a cane, kept waving a straw hat at photographers and batting off a handler who tried to guide him on where to go. LaBeouf stood toward the end of the cast and kept to himself, while Driver and Plaza helped their director up the stairs. Chloe Fineman rolled her eyes at the sea of photographers.

Once inside, Coppola was greeted by a standing ovation before the movie began. He blew kisses to audience members, who clapped in sync for the filmmaker, and sat down between Shire and Driver. Other Coppola family members, including his nephew Jason Schwartzman (who also has a role in the film) and Mars, attended to support the director.

One of the few stars not in the film to attend the premiere was Richard Gere, who headlines Paul Schrader’s competition entry “Oh, Canada.” He sat in the row in front of Coppola and congratulated him after, giving him a kiss on the cheek.

“Megalopolis” marks the director’s first film in over a decade, since 2011’s “Twixt.” The sci-fi drama follows architect Cesar Catilina (Driver), who after an accident destroys a New York City-esque metropolis, works to rebuild it as a sustainable utopia. Corrupt mayor Franklyn Cicero (Esposito) challenges Cesar and wants to stick to the status quo, but his daughter Julia (Nathalie Emmanuel) comes between the two men.

Coppola has been trying to make “Megalopolis” for decades, eventually using $120 million of his own money from his wine empire to produce the film. Controversy has surrounded the film as its premiere has approached, as its expense and reportedly muted responses to early screenings have made it difficult to secure distribution. However, Le Pacte has acquired the French distribution rights to the film and Goodfellas has signed on to handle international sales. It is competing for the Palme d’Or.

“Megalopolis” also stars Shire, Jon Voight, Grace VanderWaal, Laurence Fishburne, Kathryn Hunter, Dustin Hoffman, Fineman, Madeleine Gardella, Balthazar Getty, Bailey Ives, Isabelle Kusman, James Remar and D. B. Sweeney.

Considered one of the greatest directors of all time for classics like “The Godfather” saga and “Apocalypse Now,” Coppola has a long history with the Cannes Film Festival. He has won the Palme d’Or twice, for 1974’s “The Conversation” and 1979’s “Apocalypse Now.” He also served as the festival’s competition jury president in 1996.

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