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The Pope, from Rome, is a trend. Although in purity, his thing is to speak in the plural: trends. In the narrow margin of one week, the pontiffs are counted by four.

We knew nothing recently that the new season of the series signed by the Italian Paolo Sorrentino ( The new Pope ) imagines the possibility of a meeting of the pope played by Jude Law with the newcomer John Malkovich gives life to. The first is obsessed with the strength of a dogma that, in his opinion, has become stained more than the account of reality. On the second, it is the fragility of an institution so delicately anachronistic that martyrs him. Something similar to a so-called miracle makes the first one, to everyone's surprise, wake up in the second season of the coma. And period

Now, in Toronto, the Brazilian Fernando Meirelles elucubra about the improbable, although possible, encounter between the resigned Joseph Ratzinger, who gives life to a measured and wise Anthony Hopkins , and then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, played by a Jonathan Pryce very close of perfection

The two popes is the title of the drawer for this drama that without giving up the comedy tries to be a dissection not so much of the Church, but also, as of the own and generalized need, in a time of nationalisms, barriers and network hatreds, to believe in something, however universal, common. Call yourself faith or, simpler, dignity. And this last lack is understood in a very general and more secular sense than perhaps religious .

The first is to find the unlikely key to such a coincidence. Yes, it is true that the fact that a pope left office simply could not be seen since ... never perhaps. The chronicles speak that in 1415 Gregory XII did something similar. But there, it was the rivals who put pressure. None of this seems documented in the case of Benedict XVI. He was the one who decided to leave, who knows if forced by circumstances with the scandal of pederasty too present or forced by the weakness of age or simply as a result of an inscrutable political awakening.

Let's say the fact is anomalous enough that the cinema has decided to pay attention to it and Meirelles combines all the possibilities before the hand of a more than brilliant script by Anthony McCarten (also responsible for The Darkest Hour or Bohemian Rhapsody ).

However, the anomaly of the excessive papal number does not seem sufficient reason for so much cinema. Necessary yes, but not enough. For Sorrentino, for example, the recent attention by the Church, both his and others, has to do with the need, increasingly pressing, for a story in these fractured, discontinuous and fleeting times. The soul of Catholicism, to understand this Neapolitan cabal, has to do with the theatricalization of the rite, with the creation of a narrative that orders the messy. That would be the raison d'être of any religion , but in the case of the Catholic with her Eucharist so close to the comedy of art, more. And the cinema or television, in correspondence, does the same: create a story.

Meirelles seems of the same opinion, but his reading is more political than, say, theatrical or philosophical. In the ideology of his film, two ways of understanding the role of religion today face . On the one hand, the dogmatic, fundamentalist or simply coherent look. The intellectual who is Ratzinger knows and reasons that the meaning of an institution like his is to remain sacred in the margin of a reality by contingent definition. Anachronistic yes, but, therefore, eternal.

Jesuit Bergoglio, on the other hand, loves football and that condemns him to use one or another tactic according to the rival. And the enemy is now the lack of response to the excess of questions. That and the primacy in the greater shame of the Church in recent times the forgiveness of sinners over the pain of the victims. We speak, again, of pedophilia.

The film draws a Benedict who suddenly discovers the grace of politics . And even football. What if the best way to serve the governing institution is to stop doing it? Strategy call it. Not in vain, the film revolves around an appointment of Plato who recognizes as the main virtue of a leader who does not want to be.

The German loves classical music, his only good joke is the recognition of his inability to make jokes and, when he wants no one to know the seriousness of his words, he speaks in Latin. The Argentine, on the other hand, knows about the usefulness of a joke on time, dances tangos whenever he has occasion , hates using a language other than his own and his favorite song is Dancing queen , by Abba.

Meirelles and McCarten leave the burden of proof on Francisco's side, obviously. And they do it from the opening scene in which he presents trying to buy a plane ticket over the phone. The trigger for the meeting is a request to retire that Bergoglio presents to Ratzinger. The latter interprets it as a protest to his papacy and, from there, the film is entangled in a long conversation with the recognition of the possibility of doubt by the second.

The German remains firm in his beliefs, but he finally admits that it may be the time of social democratic populism, let's call it that, of the Argentine. Or so the director and the scriptwriter want it, who spend infinitely more time to trace in Bergoglio's past, in his motivations, his faith, his youth and, most delicate, his arguably dialogic stance during the brutal Argentine dictatorship than anything that it has to do, for example, with the past in the Hitler youth of its counterpart (just two mentions of the Nazi word).

And so on to build a tape basically supported by two memorable interpretations whose obvious purpose is to present the current and active pope as the answer to a global need and at a time when, according to the director, God is political or not. In Bergoglio's ideology, always according to Meirelles, reality is stubborn, immovable and even right-wing and the response of faith can only be the opposite. That is to say, God is not only political, but also left-wing; "of the poor," he says. The closure of the tape matching images of emigrants, walls and natural disasters with a pope who speaks in favor of compression and fraternity, and against a system that every day that passes deepens the gap between rich and poor gives the pattern. The cinema never felt so good for the papacy.

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