Italian film about papal election worth a watch

This article appears in the Conclave 2013 feature series. View the full series.

In 2011, Italian director Nanni Moretti made a movie, "Habemus Papam" ("We Have a Pope"), about a cardinal elected a most reluctant pope starring Michel Piccoli as the pope. The movie was on my Netflix list, and when the conclave began, I bumped it up to No. 1. It was mailed right out to me.

It is a lovely movie because it captures the human sacrifice demanded of the pope. It made me think that Francis, for example, can't go home to Argentina to pack up his photos and books, pay his light bill, say goodbye to his neighbors and the people he saw on his daily bus route to work. Such a simple, deep loss.

The movie makes fun of the cardinals, like when one of them insists on knowing what odds the bookmakers gave him during the conclave. Alas, his name didn't make their lists. But it also makes fun of psychoanalysis while recording -- faithfully, as well as I know -- the rubrics surrounding the papal election process.

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"Habemus Papam" is not a thriller. It's a little slow in parts. But it evokes compassion, pity and fear. Add it to your movie list.


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