Legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola has posted an epic teaser trailer to his highly anticipated, mostly self-funded film Megalopolis, ahead of its world premiere at the Cannes International Film Festival on Thursday, May 16.

A calamity has befallen a New York-like city called New Rome; meteor-like streaks careen into the metropolis from space.

“When does an empire die?” intones Laurence Fishburne, one of the film’s many stars, in voiceover. “Does it collapse in one terrible moment? No, no. But there comes a time when people no longer believe in it.”

The clip is replete with both stunning realistic sequences, and what appear to be hallucinations, like a walking statue of Lady Justice physically collapsing from exhaustion.

“Don’t let the now destroy the forever,” Adam Driver‘s idealistic artist Cesar Catilina says. “Is this society, is this way of living, the only one that’s available to us?”

While Cesar dreams of a utopia from the catastrophe, the city’s Mayor Franklyn Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito), “remains committed to a regressive status quo, perpetuating greed, special interests, and partisan warfare,” according to the official synopsis.

The description calls Megalopolis “a Roman Epic fable set in an imagined Modern America,” and if Cesar and Cicero’s names don’t drive that home, there’s a chariot race staged for Roman-clad elites at Madison Square Garden.

“We are taking our city back!” screams Shia LaBeouf‘s Clodio, in full Julius Caesar armor. In real life, Clodio invaded the Roman Empire in 428, and established a kingdom within it.

Driver’s character closes the tease: “And when we ask these questions, when there’s a dialog about them, that basically is a utopia.”

Megalopolis‘ extensive cast also includes Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Nathalie Emmanuel, Aubrey Plaza, Grace VanderWaal, Chloe Fineman, James Remar, and D.B. Sweeney.

A release date has not yet been announced.

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