The poor Italian peasant boy Francesco already has visions of Jesus and Mary as a child, but the Devil visits him too. He, Francesco, is quite certain that he will become a priest. After ... See full summary »
The poor Italian peasant boy Francesco already has visions of Jesus and Mary as a child, but the Devil visits him too. He, Francesco, is quite certain that he will become a priest. After entering the Capuchin Order it becomes clear that Padre Pio (his new name) has powers which can not be explained rationally: he heals the sick, knows the names, problems and future of complete strangers. His prophesies the then unknown young Karol Wojtyla that he will become Pope one day. Padre Pio's charity and extatic prayers make an great impression on the people. In 1918 the Wounds of Christ appear on his hands and feet- Padre Pio carries the stigmata. His followers multiply, and the cult that grows up arround him makes his holy order and the Vatican uneasy. Many within the church consider him to be an hysteric or a trickster, since he only shows his wounds the one time when they first appeared. Padre Pio suffers reprisals, he is no longer allowed to carry out his role as a priest. The ordinary ... Written by
This film purports to tell the story of Padre Pio, a controversial saint whose life is open to interpretation. Many miracles have been ascribed to him, and, in favor with the current Pope at the time, John Paul II, he did achieve sainthood in 2002.
"Padre Pio," my version at least, is dubbed, and that took a little getting used to. However, Sergio Castellitto as Padre Pio does a wonderful job. Jurgen Prochnow is a visitor to the Padre at the end of his life, who wants him to admit that he is a fraud. Padre tells him his life story, so the film is in flashback.
The film shows Padre Pio's difficult life, his work for the poor, his healings, the founding of a hospital, and the punishment he endured by his own order, who did not like his long masses and closeness to the congregation.
Padre Pio had a stigmata, which was a source of controversy; though his stigmata is shown in the film, it's not really discussed. He was accused of continually opening the wounds with carbolic acid at one point. Also, he had about him the "odor of sanctity," a smell akin to flowers possessed by other saints, which by some was thought to be eau de cologne. He was constantly under investigation.
Yet his followers speak of his many gifts, including his healings, ability to read hearts, bilocation, levitation, and prophecy. He supposedly told Father Karol Józef Wojtyła in 1947 that he would ascend to the highest place in the church. When Father Wojtyla became Cardinal, he believed Padre Pio's prediction to be true; however, he went on to become Pope John II. And it should be noted that his body, exhumed 40 years after his death, was found to be uncorrupted.
"Padre Pio" takes a positive, uplifting look at this man who followed a holy path from childhood, but it doesn't shy away from how unpopular he was with church officials. He was a fascinating man and well worth learning about, and this movie does an excellent job of showing his work.
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