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Saturday, April 28, 2012


the latest from one of Italy’s most popular director’s Nanni Moretti.  It’s a gentle comedy about a cardinal (played by Michel Piccoli, who has been making movies since 1945—wow) who is elected Pope, but at the last minute has a panic attack and finds a way to run away from the Vatican.  Meanwhile, his right hand man tries to mislead the other cardinals, as well as the world, to think the new Pope is still in his chambers meditating before making his first appearance.  The strongest sections of the film take place in the Vatican as everyone tries to figure out what to do (with perhaps the funniest scenes belonging to a psychoanalyst who was called in to talk to the new Pope before anyone realized he was an atheist—played with sly abandon by the director Moretti himself).  However, the scenes of Piccoli wandering the streets seem to just refuse to go anywhere, even fighting the director and writers (Francesco Piccolo, Federica Pontremoli and Moretti redux) tooth and nail, daring anyone to find a way for everything to come together.  Because of this, the point of the movie may be getting lost.  The film The Shoes of the Fisherman, starting Anthony Quinn, may be middlebrow entertainment with an aftertaste of kitsch and a typical Hollywood studio product, but it covers much of the same issues covered here and does it much more effectively.   

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