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WATCH: Popes Benedict and Francis star in Netflix’s ‘The Two Popes’

Since 2013, filmmakers have come up with a number of movies about Pope Francis—Chiamatemi Francesco and Pope Francis: A Man of His Word, to name a few. But there’s a new film whose thought-provoking trailer leaves us intrigued and counting down the days to December!   

Streaming on Netflix by the end of the year is The Two Popes, a film described as a comedy-drama inspired by true events. Oscar Award winner Sir Anthony Hopkins stars as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Tony Award winner Jonathan Pryce plays Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the man who would be Pope Francis. 

Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener) directs the movie based on the book The Pope: Francis, Benedict, and the Decision That Shook the World by screenwriter Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour).

As per Netflix’s summary, “Cardinal Bergoglio (Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world.” 

Also Read: Three must-see documentaries that feature the story of Pope Francis

Personality-wise, Popes Benedict and Francis couldn’t be more opposite, and the movie trailer plays that fact to the hilt: The Pope Emeritus wears ruby red shoes; Lolo Kiko sticks to the same old black shoes he’s worn for years. Benedict honors tradition and the pomp and circumstance of the papacy; Francis feels at home among crowds cheering for a football team, or on a bike, mingling with the masses.  

But the differences end there, as both clearly have a mutual admiration and respect for each other. “When I hear him speak, I become strong. I hear this story of the Church,” said Lolo Kiko about Pope Benedict in an in-flight conference last June 2. “Every time I go visit him I feel like that, I take his hand and get him to talk. He speaks little, slowly, but with the same depth, as always—because Benedict’s problem is his knees, not his head.” 

His predecessor speaks highly of him too, noting how the Church has remained united despite years of controversies and challenges. “The Pope is one,” declared Benedict in an interview last June 28. “It is Francis.” 

The Two Popes

The Two Popes premiered as part of the World Cinema showcase at the Cinema One Originals Film Festival last Wednesday, November 13 at Ayala Malls Manila Bay. The movie will also be screening at the film festival on November 16, 2019 and will be available via Netflix digital streaming on December 20, 2019.

While the film is a creative take on historical events and does not claim to be completely factual, it’s certainly worth looking forward to!


Text by Joy Rojas.

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