“Fire at Sea” director Gianfranco Rosi’s latest documentary follows the Pope on his travels to 53 countries over the past decade.
Pope Francis has emerged as one of the most significant popes in recent times due to his continuous attempts to modernize the Catholic Church. Many believe that the 2,000-year-old institution seems more accessible to a new generation thanks to its willingness to break away from tradition and its progressive stance (at least by papal standards) on homosexuality and women’s issues.
Now, in yet another unprecedented move, the pope will be made into a documentary by Oscar-nominated “Fire on the Sea” director Gianfranco Rosi. The film, titled “Viaggo: Pope Francis’ travels”, collects nine years of archival footage of the Pope’s travels around the world and his meetings with various Catholics. Spanning 53 countries, the film promises to be an intimate portrait of Pope Francis that lifts the veil on Catholic pageantry and focuses on the themes that drive him, namely poverty and environmental causes.
“The journey is where Francis the man becomes visible,” Rosi said in a statement. “Direct contact with people is clearly extremely important to him. You could say that his papacy is a pilgrimage in reverse, so instead of followers flocking to the Vatican from faraway places, the pope himself travels to the people, meets them where they live, and learns firsthand about their lives and problems.
He continued: “I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to accompany the Pope on two trips to Malta and Canada before finishing the film. The journey with Francis, the personal presence, immediately captivated me, as I think as a cinematographer and director, and the journeys had a completely different feeling. It made me strongly aware that, like the Pope’s travels, the “Viaggio” is necessarily a constant evolution, and I tried to embed this concept in the material I created. Any sense of closure would have gone against the film’s evolutionary nature, its orientation to what follows, to continue the process of meeting, learning, understanding. This openness is the essence of “In Viaggio”.
Magnolia Pictures will release “In Viaggo: The Travels of Pope of Pope” in theaters and VOD on March 31, 2023. Watch the trailer below and read IndieWire’s review of the film in Venice here.
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