The Italian documentary In Viaggio is a brilliantly made film that, in the end, is a testament to our modern culture’s idea of who Pope Francis is.
Distribution Service: Theatrical (Limited)
MPAA Rating, Not rated at the time of this review
USCCB Rating, Not rated at the time of this review
Reel Rating: 2.5 out of 5 reels
In Viaggio, an Italian documentary, is a brilliantly made—but often lacking—film that follows Pope Francis through the various apostolic journeys of his first nine years. The movie is shot in the style of cinéma vérité, which is a documentary format that puts a premium on as little interference with its subject as possible.
As the Holy Father travels from country to country, one gets the impression of a man whose time “is nearer now than when we first believed,” bringing hope with feverish intensity to as many places as possible.
The specifics of this “hope,” however, are frustratingly vague and deprived of almost any obvious Christian content.
The film starts with Francis’ first—and arguably most significant—visit. In early July 2013, just a few months into his pontificate, he went to the Italian island of Lampedusa, an important stop for North African and Middle Eastern migration. He cast out a memorial wreath into the waters to honor the many desperate souls who die on the passage and called for greater compassion towards their plight. He continues onward to Brazil for World Youth Day, to an active war zone in the Central African Republic, to the halls of the US Congress, and beyond.
Like Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, he is constantly on the move, barely stopping to catch his breath. But, unlike Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is not referenced or mentioned.
Mistakes are made and not everyone is happy, but most—dignitaries and ordinary folk alike—are ecstatic to see him, listening intently to his words and even shoving the occasional baby into his face for a quick blessing. While probably not his desire or intention, Francis is treated like a rock star rather than a prophet; my son still has the Pope plushie, sent from my parents, when Francis visited Philadelphia in 2015.
READ ON BELOW…A pope observed but not revealed – Catholic World Report
A pope observed but not revealed – Catholic World Report