Director: Wim Wenders
Starring: Pope Francis
Running time: 96 mins
Whilst I would never assume the role of an authority on the subject, I do try and impart one piece of advice to those who seek my opinion on reviewing films: if you can, try and leave any preconceptions or prejudices outside of the cinema screen, and watch the film with as open a mind as possible. But when a documentary is made with such guttural intentions, funded by the very institution it seeks to investigate, it deserves no such quarter.
A film as vile and toothless as Pope Francis: A Man of His Word scarcely deserves to be labelled a documentary. It’s little more than base propaganda; a hagiographical advertisement for a malicious organisation that brings shame to all of those involved in its production. We’re invited to see Pope Francis travel the world speaking to those in need and "delivering a message of hope.” His appointment has done wonders for the Vatican PR department, who, after two millennia of fairly shitty press, were in need of something of a miracle.
Let’s not be fooled by the new Holy Father. He isn’t the cool supply teacher who spends the entire Geography lesson telling stories about the time he hitchhiked across Canada in the summer of ’73 with little more than a guitar and a head full of dreams. The Catholic Church hasn’t decided to embrace these new found ideals out of choice; they’ve been browbeaten into rebranding themselves as far more accepting than they are in reality to continue to exploit the most vulnerable in society. Let us not forget the cost of lives in Africa, where millions of people were told that AIDS is bad, but not quite as bad as condoms. Let us not forget generations of homosexuals who were condemned, shamed and killed for their inherent nature. Let us not forget the alliance between the Catholic Church and Nazi Germany, and the dozens of high-ranking Nazi officials they helped smuggled to South America at the conclusion of World War II. Let us not forget centuries of subjugation of women, shamed into giving up their children due to being born out of wedlock. Let us not forget the countless young boys who were raped by Catholic priests, the majority of whom remain in the service of the Church, simply relocated to avoid punishment and scandal.
His agenda is clear, and runs like a rich vein of shite throughout the entirety of the film
Director Wim Wenders’ interviewing technique is reminiscent of a zookeeper lobbing fish into the gaping mouth of a seal; his softball questions exist simply to set Pope Francis up to spew more of his hokey horseshit. His agenda is clear, and runs like a rich vein of shite throughout the entirety of the film. Funded by the Vatican, which essentially means it was funded by the donations of its Catholic subjects, the film has the journalistic integrity of Tokyo Rose.
Created to continue the attempt to rebrand an outdated institution that has been on the wrong side of history on practically every issue since its inception, the lack of respect it shows its audience with its anticipation of our short memories is nothing less than astounding. Are we genuinely expected to believe that this new Church has evolved out of something other than self-preservation? That, if it wasn’t for the societal advances in the Western world, it wouldn’t still be preaching hate, condemnation and sanctimonious drivel from every pulpit from Ecuador to Tanzania?
Pope Francis: A Man of His Word is worse than just a bad film. It’s unthinkably ugly in both its intention and execution. Shame on Wim Wenders for making it, shame on Focus Features for distributing it and shame on anyone who hands over money to see it.
Did you know? This films stinks
Pope Francis: A Man of His Word is screening at Broadway Cinema until Thursday 16 August