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Pope Joan (2009)
"Die Päpstin" (original title)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 5,437 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 40 critic

A 9th century woman of English extraction born in the German city of Ingelheim disguises herself as a man and rises through the Vatican ranks.

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(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Pope Joan (2009)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Edward Petherbridge ...
Aesculapius
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Tigerlily Hutchinson ...
Jördis Triebel ...
Joan's mother
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Jordanes
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Storyline

A 9th century woman of English extraction born in the German city of Ingelheim disguises herself as a man and rises through the Vatican ranks.

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

22 October 2009 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Pope Joan  »

Box Office

Budget:

€22,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Volker Schlöndorff's own statements, he left the director's chair after an argument with the production company Constantin, which wanted to shoot a cinematic feature film version as well as a TV miniseries version at the same time. Schlöndorff disagreed with the terms and left. Franka Potente then left also out of loyalty to the director. See more »

Quotes

Johanna von Ingelheim: As for will, woman should be considered superior to man for Eve ate of the apple for love of knowledge and learning, but Adam ate of it merely because she asked him.
See more »

Connections

Featured in De wereld draait door: Episode #5.139 (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
historical novel
18 November 2009 | by See all my reviews

Although critics in my native Greece were very circumspect when valuing this movie I disagree with them. Many found that it lacked grandiose crowds in the battle and acclamation of the Pope scenes, but I think that in reality medieval battles and the assembly of Roman plebeians acclaiming the Pope must not have been particularly grandiose events and that added a quality of realism to the movie.

Also the structure of the story, the equivalent of what Germans call Bildungsroman-that is the process of the development of character through life, was presented in a very able manner, showing the evolution of Joan, a simple but charismatic country girl, to supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

The love story subplot was also good adding romance to a tale that would have been dull otherwise and proving that even scholarly girls are not immune to the pleasures of the flesh.

I have to comment on the acting of Ms Wokalek, which I found admirable in the way that it portrayed the subdued power of the character of Joan under a facade of neutral manners and also the surprise role of John Goodman who played a larger than life exuberant and kindly Pope.

The evocation of the age was also excellent avoiding excesses, and presenting the mendacity of peasant life in the villages as well as the relative luxury of the ruling classes.

Of course the main point of the story concerned the barriers that gender and class posed to a talented poor woman during that dark age. I think the story has similarities with that of Joan of Ark. The final surprise, which I will not disclose, must have been a novelistic devise relative to modern concerns about the Church invented by the author of the novel on which the movie was based and not an integral part of the Pope Joan legend as preserved through the ages.

All in all a very able movie which I greatly enjoyed. It is a pity that the response of the Greek critics was at best lukewarm.


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