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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Italian Movie - Habemus Papam (2011)

Habemus Papam (2011)

Director(s): Nanni Moretti

Countries: Italy & France

Main actor(s)/actress(es): Michel Piccoli, Nanni Moretti, Jerzy Stuhr & Margherita Buy

Genre: Comedy, Drama


The new election of a pope is always a stressful moment but nobody ever sees what is happening behind the scenes ... when the newly elected pope has a breakdown and cannot bear with the responsibilities of this position, all the cardinals try to help him the best they can.


Nominated for the Palme d'Or and winners of dozens of awards this had to be on my "to watch list". Moreover, the synopsis itself proved intriguing enough to explain why this movie had to be watched. A closer look at the election of the pope and the opportunity to see this from the inside would undeniably prove interesting. My conclusion would be to give it a shot as this resulted in an enjoyable movie with a few flaws but a very interesting point of view.

The end result is somewhere in the middle of what I expected and what I usually enjoy. The depiction of the newly elected pope by Michel Piccoli is outstanding and very genuine. The fragility and the tension are beautifully rendered on the screen and the overall pressure around the position of the pope is perfectly conveyed during the voting sessions in the Vatican. Finally, the enclosed and sometimes claustrophobic religious life these people choose is also justly rendered.

What I found a bit more problematic was the comedy aspect of this movie. Most of the scenes are very pleasant and do bring a lighter touch to the overall film: Nanni Moretti as a psychoanalyst, original cardinals, etc. However, I believed sometimes it turned into something rather ridiculous and grotesque which hindered the general quality of the movie and its overarching message on religion (for instance, the volleyball tournament lasts for ages and ages and is rather randomly presented).

un papa = a pope
una chiesa = a church
scappare = to escape
una elezione = an election
una religione = a religion

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