Back in April, when the promotion for Pope Francis a Man of His Word was in full gear, I had some fun with it, noting it was “risible piece of propaganda.”
Well, now that the movie is out, Matt Gaspers and Maureen Mullarkey have reviewed it and make me look almost gentle and restrained. And they agree that the most notable aspect of the Pope Movie is that it is . . . a risible piece of propaganda. Gaspers:
I decided to go see Pope Francis: A Man of His Word on opening weekend (it premiered on May 18 across North America) – for investigative journalism purposes only – and if I was forced to use a single word to describe it, I would have to go with propaganda. From start to finish, it is obvious that the film’s purpose is to (1) propagate a favorable narrative that (2) appeals to the emotions rather than the intellect and (3) omits inconvenient truths.
One of said inconvenient truths is that Francis’ word is something of a moving target. Maureen Mullarkey, as is to be expected, is even harder on the movie. I find her most on target when she notes:
“Pope Francis” is a disturbing film, not solely for its exaltation of Francis and his politics but more so for having been planned from the beginning of his ascent to office. Biography.com states that Wenders received a written invitation to “collaborate” with Pope Francis on a documentary about his pontificate in 2013, the year his papacy began…
This is crucial: Bergolio was intent on documenting himself as the hero of his own pontificate early on. Accordingly, the commissioned film subordinates the substance of the papacy to Francis’s personality and secular pieties.
That says volumes about the oh-so-humble Pope. Further, I find this sad because of who got lured into this project. I’ve long had the highest respect for Wim Wenders for his Paris, Texas (1984), a great movie that is one of my favorites. For him to get tied up with such laughable propaganda for such an undeserving figure is sad indeed. I hope Wenders is remembered for his other works.