POPE FRANCIS, A MAN OF THE WORD (Pope Francis: A Man of His Word)

POPE FRANCIS, A MAN OF THE WORD (Pope Francis: A Man of His Word)
South Pacific

by Luis Garcia Orso SJ

The Vatican asked the renowned German filmmaker Wim Wenders to make a documentary that presents the thought of Pope Francis through his meetings, speeches and homilies, in his various pastoral visits. The filmmaker worked on the script and recorded material that was offered to him, and also achieved a very professional collaboration between the Vatican Television Center, the North American Focus Features and several European production companies interested in the project. Five years after Francis' election, Wenders presented his film at Cannes in May 2018. The result is a very enjoyable spiritual journey with the Pope, as well as a synthesis of his concerns, interests and proposals in the face of the most urgent challenges of The humanity.

As the title of the film indicates, Francisco, a man of his word , the pope is a human being with a committed, caring, incarnate, evangelical word. But Wenders' cinematic success is not to focus only on the speeches of the pontiff, but in seeing him in his living encounters with very varied people and groups: migrants and refugees, factory and farm workers, families, prisoners, the sick, children, the elderly, politicians, social leaders and religious leaders. We go with him from Assisi to Lampedusa, from Lesbos to Jerusalem, from Naples to the Philippines, from the UN to the United States Congress, from Rome to Ciudad Juárez. Every encounter that we see infects closeness, listening, sympathy, love, concern for others, desire for something better for everyone.

The pope's communication and pastoral style is distinguished not only by his words, always deep and clear, but also by what he speaks with his gestures: when washing the feet of prisoners, when sitting down to eat with beggars, when embracing the sick and the elderly, praying with Jews and Muslims, entering a migrant neighborhood, getting wet in the rain, hearing the sorrows of people without work, crying for abused and raped children and youth. They are signs that the reign of God is close, very close, to every man and woman without exclusions, and especially to the poor and marginalized. It is worth remembering his statements in the first interview he gave to the media: " How I would like a poor Church and for the poor " , and what he has repeated on so many occasions: "No to indifference, no to an economy of exclusion" . Wenders unites these ideals with the song played by the also Argentina, Mercedes Sosa: "That pain is not indifferent to me . '"

Laudato Si ' , the encyclical on the care of the common home, of May 2015, has a special attention in the film, as do the deepest concerns of the Roman pastor: « Knowing how to listen to what God, the poor, nature " ; Listen to each other, dialogue, seek answers together, make ourselves responsible”. Just as Saint Francis of Assisi has inspired the Pope, he has also done so with the director, who recreates cinematographically some scenes from the life of the saint so that we too open our hearts and become sensitive to all reality. Thus we are invited to discover what unites us all as children of God, what unites us, what we can do together for fraternity and social friendship, as the encyclical Fratelli tutti proposes .

Win Wenders is a creator who is convinced that cinema can illuminate our lives and bring something better to our humanity. The new documentary by the German filmmaker is a luminous journey, a clean retelling that brings us closer to the honest personality of the Pope, to his word committed to transmitting evangelical values. This portrait of Francis will not leave anyone indifferent, as it invites us to think that not only another Church is possible, but also another world. The movie can be seen on Netflix.

We cannot miss the song that closes the film: “These are the words”. In the end credits, the particular voice of the American poet and singer-songwriter Patti Smith, who once declared that, although she is not Catholic , "she will pray with rock for the Pope" sounds . The singer-songwriter leaves us with lyrics full of force: «When the soul yearns for love, it comes to us overflowing from above. Compassion, humility, hope are words to be lived every day ”. This is how Francisco lives it and this is how this film gives us.

Mexico, November 6, 2020

Original title : Pope Francis: A Man of His Word

Director: Wim Wenders

Screenplay: Wim Wenders and David Rosier

Editing: Maxine Goedicke

Photography : Lisa Rinzler

Country: Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland.

Year: 2018

Duration: 96 min.

Cast: Francisco and many world personalities.

Genre: Biographical Documentary

Assessment: A documentary account of Pope Francis, of his pastoral concerns, through the images and words of many of his encounters in various parts of the world.