A beautiful summer day. A garden. A terrace. A woman and a man sit at a table beneath the trees, with a soft summer wind. In the distance, in the vast plain, the silhouette of Paris. A ... See full summary »
After the wild life-style of a famous young German photographer almost gets him killed, he goes to Palermo, Sicily to take a break. Can the beautiful city and a beautiful local woman help him calm himself down?
"Pope Francis - A Man of His Word" is intended to be a personal journey with Pope Francis, rather than a biographical documentary about him. The pope's ideas and his message are central to this documentary, which sets out to present his work of reform and his answers to today's global questions.
Directed by Wim Wenders, this French-German-Italian-Swiss documentary covers many interviews with the pope and includes some footage of public speeches and outings as well. His activist attitude on environmental and economic issues is frequently expressed as is his admiration of Saint Francis of Assisi.
For those of us in the know (and with a certain opinion), the current pontiff has been a diamond in the rough compared to his two predecessors, particularly Pope John-Paul II. Francis applies a very intelligent concern (with relevant references to Christ's teachings) to what is truly ailing the world and spends relatively little attention on church dogma regarding same-sex relationships and women's reproductive rights. He also practices what he preaches in living under more modest circumstances compared to the lavish luxury enjoyed by his predecessors. Much of the film's beginning re-emphasizes these beliefs but it eventually becomes rather dull. As a single talking-head, the doc's impact fades for a while.
Luckily, Wenders adds more style in the second half that restores the energy created at the film's earliest moments. There is a very gripping speech given by Francis at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel. From there, the pope is seen visiting European refugee camps as well as the sick (presumably AIDS patients) in African hospitals. There are also moving scenes as he meets with Jewish and Muslim leaders - both secular and religious - sometimes simultaneously.
It's fair to say the documentary is incomplete in that there are no contradictory opinions to Pope Francis or the Vatican in modern times. In one scene, he speaks eloquently about the need to have women's voices heard when important collective decisions are being made. In a Youtube video of just over twenty-two minutes, Mary McAleese (former president of Ireland) points out how Francis' words need to be put into action. But despite some contradictory moments, this film does give a message of hope that a highly influential religious leader may help contribute to changes this planet actually needs.
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