4 March 2013 11:45 AM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Four days following Pope Benedict XVI's official step-down from the papacy, more than 100 cardinals are rallying inside the Vatican to begin the election of a new pope. Anyone familiar with Italian auteur Nanni Moretti's Catholicism comedy "Habemus Papam" ("We Have a Pope"), in which a reluctant cardinal (Michel Piccoli) begrudgingly is elected pope and sees a shrink (Moretti) in order to try and come to terms with accepting the job, can grin at the possibility of life imitating art. (Our Cannes interview with Moretti is here.) Reportedly the cardinals are excited at the prospect of a new pope, with one Portuguese cardinal telling TV crews, "A Latin-American pope is possible, anything is possible!" Preparations for the conclave are rigorous, with security measures including closing the Sistine Chapel and confirming that the Vatican hotel is debugged. Many observers, including documentarian Alex Gibney ("Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God »


- Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna

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