Every morning should start like today. Watching a beautiful Italian movie. The film this morning was ‘Habemus Papam’ (‘We Have the Pope’) and it was simply gorgeous in its sensibility, its humour and its character studies. A film like this gently massages your soul and eases you into the day.
Quick synopsis: the Pope has died, and the newly elected Pope suffers stage fright seconds before he’s due to step onto the balcony and present himself to the massive crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square. A psychotherapist (who happens to be an atheist) is called in to ‘fix’ him…but our reluctant hero escapes.
It’s such a wonderful reminder of why European cinema is so often different to Hollywood. Our wonderful LA film-makers (and there really are a LOT of Hollywood movies I love) will have us believe that you can be anything you want to be, that given the opportunity anyone can rise to any occasion…but Europe reminds us, with a smile on its face, that what we really should be fulfilling is our destiny, knowing our strengths and weaknesses and being the best we can be, not what somebody else wants from us (even when they tell us it’s what God would want!).
The press conference afterwards was just as lovely. The lead actor, Michel Piccoli – who happens to be 85 (which you’d never guess) and more famous as a French actor – said that playing the role wasn’t difficult at all because “I listen more than I speak so it was quite easy.” Isn’t that great? Wish I could do that.
And it’s the director – Nanni Moretti – who plays the role of the psychotherapist in the movie. He admitted that “there is something of me in both the character of the psychotherapist and in the Pope’s feelings of discomfort and inadequacy.” This is Moretti’s 6th film in competition in Cannes. He won the Palm d’Or in 2001.