Greetings again from the darkness. More than one billion people identify as Catholic, and since 2013, the head of the Church has been Pope Francis. He’s originally from Argentina and is the first Pope from the Americas. Of course, one need not be a practicing Catholic to respect and appreciate the mission and impact of this man … and his commitment to improving humanity. Director Gianfranco Rosi received an Oscar nomination for his 2016 documentary, FIRE AT SEA, and here he utilizes archival footage and clips to chronicle the Pope’s focus on certain topics: poverty, immigration, his anti-war stance, and his pleadings for solidarity amongst Earth’s residents.
The film begins by informing that Pope Francis, in his first nine years as Pope, took 37 trips while visiting 53 different countries in order to spread the messages (noted above) that are so close to his heart. When we see him speak to the globalization of indifference, we can’t help but acknowledge his insight. At each stop, throngs line the road to get a quick glimpse, or perhaps even a touch from the man they view as being on a mission from God. He preaches for the need for a culture of solidarity where countries, politicians, and citizens work together for a better world.
This is a man who has forsaken many of the creature comforts afforded his predecessors, and instead turns his attention to those people and groups marginalized by society. This really hits hard as he rides towards a massive mural of Che Guevara. Pope Francis speaks to an unforgivable pattern of war, and pushes what should be a pattern of peace. He is now 86 years old, and we see a man filled with Peace, Love, and Understanding. One need not be Catholic to see these admirable traits and his commitment. Director Rosi’s film is not so much a Pope’s travel journal, but more an intimate portrait of a man so committed to his mission and purpose that he rarely slows down, even with some physical limitations due to age. We see Pope Francis do that in which he excels … providing hope for a better life, a better world, a better tomorrow.
**As this is posted, Pope Francis has been hospitalized for a respiratory infection.
Magnolia Pictures will release IN VIAGGIO: THE TRAVELS OF POPE FRANCIS
in theaters and VOD March 31, 2023