We Have a Pope | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

We Have a Pope

There's a new head of the Catholic Church, and he's panicking, in this Italian dramedy

The chosen one: Michel Piccoli
The chosen one: Michel Piccoli

As ridiculous as this whole pope thing is, I must confess that Nanni Moretti's We Have a Pope is a charming dramatic fantasy, with touches of comedy. It's about a newly elected pontiff (the great French actor Michel Piccoli) who panics just before he's expected to greet the throngs of the faithful in St. Peter's Square. As the cardinals flutter about, trying to resolve the crisis, Moretti explore notions of responsibility, humility, theology, psychology and the shortcomings of an antiquated corporation in a modern age. 

We tend to think of the pope as the CEO of Catholicism, and also as having an agenda. (The current one certainly does.) But Piccoli's reticent aging cleric seems like he'd rather just quietly pray and go fishing. "Not me, Lord, not me," many cardinals mumble during the balloting. And then, the new pope wails and shouts "I can't do this!" before fleeing in terror. Surely this is how anyone must feel before taking the top job at a multinational that's rife with ambition and losing its profitable U.S. market share. Or at least, it's how they should feel: For without such humanity, we have only pride and avarice to guide us, and we know where that road leads.

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