National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Italian film about papal election worth a watch

In 2011, Italian director Nanni Moretti made a movie, "Habemus Papam" ("We Have a Pope"), about a cardinal elected a most reluctant pope starring Michel Piccoli as the pope. The movie was on my Netflix list, and when the conclave began, I bumped it up to No. 1. It was mailed right out to me.

It is a lovely movie because it captures the human sacrifice demanded of the pope. It made me think that Francis, for example, can't go home to Argentina to pack up his photos and books, pay his light bill, say goodbye to his neighbors and the people he saw on his daily bus route to work. Such a simple, deep loss.

The movie makes fun of the cardinals, like when one of them insists on knowing what odds the bookmakers gave him during the conclave. Alas, his name didn't make their lists. But it also makes fun of psychoanalysis while recording -- faithfully, as well as I know -- the rubrics surrounding the papal election process.

Order a gift subscription to NCR, and we'll throw in a little something extra for you. Learn more

"Habemus Papam" is not a thriller. It's a little slow in parts. But it evokes compassion, pity and fear. Add it to your movie list.


NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


Some articles are only available in the print newspaper and Kindle edition.