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Call Me Francesco, the story behind the People’s Pope


- "I didn’t want to make a ‘holy flick’", explains Daniele Luchetti, the director of the film about Jorge Bergoglio that Medusa is due to release in Italian theatres on 3 December

Call Me Francesco, the story behind the People’s Pope
Rodrigo de la Serna in Call Me Francesco

Neither an investigative film nor a hagiographic portrait, more the story of a young Jesuit who became Pope, told through the turbulence and tragedies of the History of an Argentina fallen victim to the dictator Generals. 

Call Me Francesco [+see also:
making of
interview: Sara Serraiocco
film profile
, which was produced for Taodue by Pietro Valsecchi with Mediaset Premium, will be released in 700 cinemas by Medusa starting on Thursday 3 December. Director Daniele Luchetti – the author of Our Life [+see also:
film review
making of
film profile
, which was awarded at Cannes in 2010 for Elio Germano’s performance, explains: “I modelled the film on The Queen [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Andy Harries
interview: Stephen Frears
film profile
by Stephen Frears, I wanted that British curtness. I didn’t want to make a ‘holy flick’. The film is based more on the accounts of those who knew him than on the many biographies that have been written”. The camera follows Bergoglio, played by Rodrigo de la Serna, from the moment of his conversion, through his life as a Jesuit, when he bore witness to the horrors of the Videla regime, to 13 March 2013, when he stepped out onto the balcony of Saint Peter’s after Conclave. “My task was not to tell the Argentinians their past. But I would like young people to realise, through the character, that State terrorism is possible and that it flattened a nation in the name of security”. 

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Valsecchi says, “I wanted to know more about that man and I felt obliged, as a producer, to tell others. Our journey began in 2014, when we went to Argentina with Luchetti to meet the childhood friends of the Pope, priests, everyone who worked with Pope Bergoglio. I often found myself wondering: who am I to make a film about the Pope? Then as we progressed, covering each stage of his life, I started to understand why Bergoglio is the way we see him, a man who isn’t afraid of anything. It’s because he’s seen everything”.  

The film cost €15 million to make, and is expected to sell in 40 countries, including in the format of four 50-minute-long episodes for television. The film will be premiered in the Vatican on 2 December for seven thousand homeless people, guests of the Holy See. A subtitled copy has also been sent to President of the United States of America Barack Obama.

(Translated from Italian)

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