By Sarah Mac Donald - 10 August, 2018
A new documentary on Pope Francis by the acclaimed German film director, Wim Wenders, opens in Irish cinemas today.
Pope Francis – A Man of His Word was written and directed by the three-time Academy Award nominee, who directed the documentary Buena Vista Social Club as well as films like Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas.
This latest documentary is intended to be a personal journey with Pope Francis, rather than a biographical documentary about him.
Over two years, Wenders interviewed the Pope and he was given editorial independence by the Vatican.
The 96-minute documentary is the product of a co-production with the Vatican, and the Pope’s ideas and message were central to the project, which sets out to present his work of reform and his answers to today’s global questions of death, social justice, immigration, ecology, wealth inequality, materialism, and the role of the family.
It incorporates footage from the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in 2015 and it also shows the Pope on his many journeys around the world, with footage of him speaking at the United Nations, addressing the Congress of the United States, and mourning with those gathered at Ground Zero and at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem.
He speaks to prisoners in correctional facilities and to refugees in Mediterranean camps.
In the film, he is seen travelling to the Holy Land (Palestine and Israel) as well as to Africa, South America and Asia.
Throughout the documentary, Pope Francis shares his vision of the Church and his deep concern for the poor, his involvement in environmental issues and social justice, and his call for peace in areas of conflict and between world religions.
There is also a presence of St Francis in the film, connecting back to the Pope’s namesake, through accounts of legendary moments in the saint’s own life as a reformer and ecologist.
Universal Pictures have said the documentary will be shown in up to 40 cinemas around Ireland.
Wim Wenders was brought up a Catholic but now attends a Protestant church.
On 13 March 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires became the 266th pontiff of the Catholic Church.
He is the first pope from the Americas, the first from the Southern hemisphere, the first Jesuit elected as bishop of Rome, and the first pope to have chosen the name of Francis, after St Francis of Assisi (1181–1226), one of the most revered Christian saints and reformers, who dedicated his life to “Sister Poverty” and to a deep love of nature and all living beings on “Sister Mother Earth”.