A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.
At the Vatican, following the demise of the Pope, the conclave to elect his successor settles on Cardinal Melville. But the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square wait in vain for the new Pope to step out on the balcony. What is going on? Behind the thick walls of the Vatican panic has set in. After uttering a terrible howl of fear, the Cardinal refuses the office. The officials do everything to try to reason with Melville, including a psychoanalyst, appointed by the Vatican... Do we really have a Pope? Written by
This is going to be one of the most watchable films of the year, a conversation piece to shoot the breeze around religion. It is about a new Pope elect who, after the elaborate ritual has drawn thousands of people in anxious anticipation outside the Holy See, discovers that he cannot go out on the balcony and give his blessing. He cannot be what he's expected to be.
So the eye turns inwards for self-discovery. On that level the film adopts a tone of melancholy yearning. It is sad, just to see a man weighed down by the will of god, possibly dismayed at the silence. On the flipside it is funny, when all the ordained officials are worried about is the ceremonial shibboleth or a cup of cappuccino. It is generally bittersweet with old life greeting itself from a pulpit that demands closure, revelation. Meanwhile conjecture and idle speculation are continuously throughout the film being blabbed from the TV.
But does it matter, which is to say can it weigh down on us or instill a silence in which to seek our words? I'm not just idling here, what I mean is this; although enjoyable on a very plain level, melancholy with red curtains fluttering in absence, and since it competed with both Tree of Life and Melancholia this year at Cannes, does it offer its own ascetic images to contemplate?
The answer is likely no, but not for failing to provide opportunities. Exemplified in two instances, double perspectives both; one is of course at the beginning, with outside the triumph and celebration of organized faith, faith in god's will, but from inside there is only the confused, agitated mind of a plain man who must embody that will. The other is when the cardinals rejoice that the Pope is finally doing better; but of course, from our perspective, we know that inside the chambers is only an even more plain man as substitute, baffled at his newfound importance. He stages behind the papal curtains a play of light and shadow for the gathered congregation outside, this is a fitting image of what Moretti is looking to exemplify.
So in both cases we are directed to recognize a charade of profoundest deception or false hope. Where god should be made manifest, we have instead the same hapless poor schmucks as the rest of us. There is no higher wisdom, atheists will rejoice in this. Another opinion is that his depiction of cardinals, despite the odd sour face, as kindly old men, overgrown children really, is not as scathing as some might have hoped.
But the old man heard at the sermon, about the wisdom that comes from humility. Some weighs we let fall on our shoulders, because there's no two ways around it. So even though this spiritual absence becomes deafening in the finale, I just cannot embrace any of it.
Catholicism may or may not deserve our modern scorn, but faith isn't doctrine. Faith being a personal attainment, it is not an old man greeting us from a balcony.
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