In Viaggio: The Travels of Pope Francis

Movie Info

Movie Notes

Look for this film to be released on March 31, 2023!

Movie Info

Gianfranco Rosi
Run Time
1 hour and 20 minutes
Not Rated

VP Content Ratings

Sex & Nudity
Star Rating
★★★★★5 out of 5

Relevant Quotes

Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

Genesis 4:8-9
Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

Genesis 4:8-9
For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor perish forever.

Psalm 8:18
Cuba is one of the 53 nations the Pope has visited. (c) Magnolia Pictures

As former President Jimmy Carter leaves the public stage it is good to be reminded that another elderly peacemaker is still going strong, the Pope, who takes seriously his namesake’s mission to the poor. Documentarian Gianfranco Rosi has assembled a massive amount of of film clips that allow us to travel along with this itinerant advocate for the poor who travels to five continents to let the poor know they are not alone/ Indeed, early on we learn that during his nine years as Pope he has made thirty-seven trips to fifty three countries where he speaks out on poverty, migration, the environment, war, and the assurance that victims do no suffer alone.

Rosi makes us feel a sense of intimacy by his numerous close-ups of Pope Francis, sometimes in thought, often in prayer. Given almost 500 hours of footage of the Pope’s travels, the director’s own shots of the pontiff brings us closer to the man than ever we could under ordinary circumstances.  He arranges the episodes from many of the Pope’s trips in chronological order, so that we wind up with the Russian invasion of Ukraine—the first showed his dep concern for African immigrants fleeing poverty, and the last for women and children fleeing war.

We view many of the crowds that flock to glimpse in from the standpoint of the “Popemobiles” moving through the streets of cities. Others are of long lines eager to shake his hand, nd we note hat he has a word for each of them. Just how eager they are to view him we se during his visit to Brazil where the excited faces of the people are aglow with the pleasure of just a brief moment in his presence. These joyful faces made me think of the first time I came across the Hindu word “darshan,” a word meaning “divine sight’ and used to describe the experience of one in the presence of a deity or saint—in the TIME Magazine’s account of President Eisenhower’s visit to India the word was used to describe the enthusiastic and reverent way that the huge crowds regarded the American hero.

Pope Francis meets not only the poor but also important religious leaders—the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Muslim imams, a group of Native American chiefs. He seeks the common ground, and always, his message is one of hope. He speaks several times of the need to dream and follow that dream, never giving up on it, “And above all, hold on to your dreams. Do not be afraid to dream. Dream of a world that cannot be seen yet, but which will certainly come..”

He also seeks forgiveness, the confession that the church failing to protect boys from predatory priests being specially poignant, he admitting his own complicity when he defended a cardinal friend. He also asks forgiveness for colonial sins:

“I ask forgiveness for the ways in which unfortunately many Christians upheld the colonial mentality of the powers that oppressed indigenous peoples. I am aggrieved. I ask forgiveness above all for the way many members of the Church and the religious communities cooperated, also through indifference, with those projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation of the governments of the time that culminated in the residential school system.”

This film, whose title means “Traveling,” might have been subtitled, “The Man Serving as the World’s Conscience.” Early on he declared, “We are a society that has forgotten how to weep, how to share suffering. The globalization of indifference has taken from us the ability to weep!” As I heard this, I could not help but think of the homeless people I have passed by or the mounds of mail from charities that I have thrown away, too often with little thought that I might have helped at least one of them. This is definitely one of those films that leave us a bit uncomfortable.

Gianfranco Rosi’s powerful film includes very little music. Instead, the filmmaker lets the images of loving man and responding poor to work their own effect upon the viewer. There is no narrative to set the stage or explain matters, so at times we might be confused, but then the images and the well-chosen words of the man stir our hearts and challenge our minds. This is a film I urge every peacemaker to see because it will be a tonic for the soul during the long struggle against poverty, racism, war, and ignorance. I leave you with the prayer that I carefully copied from the film—and also with the suggestion that you pray for the health and longevity of the man who uttered it:

“Forgive us for war, O Lord. We implore you, stay the hand of Cain, illuminate our consciences,may our will not be done, do not abandon us to our deeds. And when you have stayed the hand of Cain, care for him too, our brother. Stop us, Lord, stop us.”

This review will be in the March issue of  VP along with a set of questions for reflection and/or discussion. If you have found reviews on this site helpful, please consider purchasing a subscription or individual issue in The Store.


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