Friday, January 15, 2021

The Two Popes

A Luso World Cinema Blogathon é um evento dedicado a filmes e cineastas em língua portuguesa de todo o mundo, organizado por Critica Retro e Spellbound by Movies. Para uma lista completa dos blogueiros participantes, visite os links nos sites de hospedagem.

The Two Popes

Netflix viewing 

One of the brightest lights in recent Brazilian cinema has been director Fernando Meirelles. The São Paulo native discovered film through his father, who made 8mm parodies with his family and friends. In college he studied architecture, but also sustained his interest in filmmaking. He entered indie TV and experimental film after graduation, which led to advertising. He co-founded the ad firm O2 Films.

In 2002, he co-directed, with Katia Lund, the movie City of God, a crime picture based in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, based on a novel inspired by actual events. O2 Films was one of the production companies. The film was an international sensation, and was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

In subsequent years, Meirelles made the Oscar-winner The Constant Gardener, as well as the films Blindness and 360 and the HBO series Joint Venture. When the Summer Olympics came to Rio in 2016, he directed the opening ceremonies. In 2019, Meirelles adapted the play The Two Popes for Netflix.

Popes loosely tells the story of the relationship between Pope Benedict XVI and the future Pope Francis, back when he was still Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in the wake of the 2012 scandal over corruption within the Vatican. Anthony Hopkins plays the former and Jonathan Pryce plays the latter.

Meirelles recreated the Sistine Chapel in the famous Cinecitta studio in Rome. This podcast explains how he did it. St. Peter’s Square was computer-generated. Additional filming was shot in and around Rome as well as Argentina.

Pryce and Hopkins were both Oscar-nominated, for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively. Pryce spoke some Spanish and Hopkins spoke some Italian and a little Latin. They both came across very convincingly.

I can’t say the story moved me that much, not being Catholic, but the contrast between the two holy men and their differing visions for the future of the faith was presented well. The reality behind the popes and their connection to each other is different, but this is, after all, a dramatization. The adapted screenplay by Anthony McCarten was also Oscar-nominated.

Popes is an ambitious production depicting a crucial turning point in religious history, told on a small, almost intimate scale.

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Previously:

Manoel de Oliveira 

8 comments:

  1. Great post! I'm glad you highlighted Meirelles' past and also mentioned that City of God was co-directed by Katia Lund, a fact that is often overlooked even here in Brazil.
    Two Popes is indeed an intimate tale and a fine story about those two contrasting men.
    Cheers!

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  2. I ignored this movie the first time around, and I probably wouldn’t have watched it were it not for your blogathon. POPES was tough to sit through in places on account of it being so talky, but I learned a few things, and the production was quite impressive.

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    1. By the way, I loved that the introductory text about the blogathon is in Portuguese!

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    2. Just for you. If I got anything wrong, blame Google Translate.

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  3. I like what you said about framing a crucial turning point as an intimate story. Those are the ones I like the best, and remember the most.

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    1. I suppose if this had been made fifty years ago there would’ve been a bigger emphasis on pageantry: the fancy costumes, the lavish sets—though those things are important here too.

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  4. I appreciate those projects that gives the actors the spotlight, the chance to create that intimate feeling. I also appreciated learning so much from your article.

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  5. Now I can say I know how they pick a pope!

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