Image - the author, detail from his book cover, and full book cover
Past Event

The Path to Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story

Francis Ford Coppola is one of American films’ most dramatic director-dreamers, and his most transformative dream has been American Zoetrope, the production company he founded in San Francisco when he was only 30 years old―years before his gargantuan successes. Through Zoetrope’s experimental, communal utopia, Coppola attempted to reimagine the entire pursuit of moviemaking. Now, more than 50 years later, despite myriad setbacks, Coppola’s dream persists, as demonstrated by the culmination of his utopian ideals: the anticipated release in 2024 of his decades-in-the-making film Megalopolis.

As Sam Wasson makes clear, the story of Zoetrope includes the story of Coppola’s wife Eleanor, and of their children, whose personal lives are as inseparable from their artistic passions as Coppola's is. Wasson also charts the divergent paths of Coppola and his cofounder and onetime apprentice, George Lucas, and of their very different visions of art and commerce. And of course Wasson weighs in on the making of one of the greatest quixotic masterpieces ever attempted, Apocalypse Now, and on what Coppola found in the jungles of the Philippines when he walked the razor’s edge.

MLF Organizer
George Hammond

A Humanities Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums.

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Bernard Osher Foundation

Wasson photo by Gary Copeland.

June 6, 2024

The Commonwealth Club World Affairs of California
United States

Image - Sam Wasson

Sam Wasson

Author, The Path to Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story

Image - George Hammond

In Conversation with George Hammond

Author, Conversations With Socrates