Interpreted by Jonathan Pryce e Anthony Hopkins respectively in the roles of Papa Francesco e Pope Benedict XVI, the film tells of the relationship between the two religious just before the latter's resignation to the papal throne and the consequent election of Francis as Pope in 2013.
The film is available on Netflix and was broadcast in theaters for a few weeks during December 2019, probably in order to be able to secure a place at the Oscars and other prestigious awards.
"The two Popes" has the advantage of not being based on the plot but on the strength of the two main actors, so the synopsis of the film is soon revealed: tired of the direction taken by the Church and the pontificate of Benedict XVI, Bergoglio decides to go to Rome to submit his resignation. The timing of the German pontiff will give the two the opportunity to confront each other, settle their ideological differences and create a small but solid friendship.
The film offers an opportunity to find out more about Bergoglio's life, his youth and some difficult moments in the history of Argentina. Often, little is asked about how certain characters reacted to such dark tragedies and periods.
Why watch it?
Many times it makes no sense to wonder why to watch a movie. It is obvious that the new film of Jumanji you look at it for different reasons than Klaus. However, I find that in this case it is a necessary question and that it is connected to its natural continuation: "Do you recommend it?". "The two Popes" should be looked at because it is part of a long line of films that tend to show the human side of the Church, often seen only as dogmatic, contradictory and reactionary. There is much more to this film than it might seem from the synopsis. The reflection on the role of the Pope, on the palace games and on what Christianity would need are the key points of the reflections of Bergoglio and Ratzinger. The fact that the pontiff is only a figure to be "given to the masses", while the Curia wand and administer, cloak the whole melancholy film and bring and empathize.
A film by only two actors
Although Juan Minujín, who plays the young Bergoglio, has given an excellent test of acting, we would all lie if we did not look reality in the face: the film is directed only by two extraordinary actors such as Pryce and Hopkins. Very long sequences see only a simple dialogue between the two of them, with gestures reduced to a minimum and an attention to their impressive dialogues. "Two powers, two canices" Manzoni would have said and he would not have mistaken a comma. Despite being both churchmen, Bergoglio and Ratzinger appear humanly very different and with an infinitely different past. Given that the film opens with the rivalry of the future Benedict XVI against the future Francis, it is interesting to see the two gradually approaching, although the ideas remain diametrically opposed. The ending manages to be touching, with Ratzinger realizing that he is not what "the Church needs".
The comparison with Sorrentino
Given the release of "The New Pope" by Sorrentino, it is impossible not to make a comparison with "I due Papi". Although we try to compare a TV series to a movie, we will focus on what is possible to observe. In both works we could see a Conclave, with the same rituals and almost the same shots, but it seems that history beats fiction. The election of Benedict XVI, with the music of the Abba in the background, manages to make the idea particularly clear. Admirable how in both works they try to show a human side, although Sorrentino presents us more than anything else the dark and venal side of the Church.