′The Pope is quite rock′n′roll′: Wim Wenders on his new Pope Francis film | Film | DW | 14.06.2018
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'The Pope is quite rock'n'roll': Wim Wenders on his new Pope Francis film

Wim Wenders is deeply impressed by the Pope. With his documentary, Pope Francis: A Man of his Word, which now hits German theaters, he wants to show that the Catholic Church leader can change the world.

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires, become Pope and sovereign of the Vatican City in Rome in 2013, he was soon after named Time Magazine's Person of the Year for taking the "the papacy out of the palace and into the streets." Since dubbed the "People's Pope," the person behind the highly popular pontiff has now been revealed by German filmmaker Wim Wenders in his documentary film, Pope Francis: A Man of his Word.

Based on several intimate interviews with the Catholic Church head, and including footage of the Pope travelling between a Brazilian street mass, a refugee camp in Greece and beyond, the film is a unique papal portrait, as Wenders told DW.           

DW: What inspired you to make this particular documentary?

Wim Wenders: I experienced the fantastic communication skills of this man, and saw how he seeks contact with everyone, and how he manages to succeed in something where most people fail; that is, opening oneself up to the others while also being there for them in a loving way.

Read moreUp close with Pope Francis in Wim Wenders' film at Cannes

That's when I thought that I had been very privileged by spending a total of eight hours at his side while looking him in the eye, and I thought that I wouldn't be able to keep that experience to myself.  Then we shot the film in a way that this immediate communication, this closeness, would reach each single viewer. The Pope is looking into the eyes of everyone who watches the film.

Pop Francis embraces a man on a stage (Reuters/G. Borgia)

While others are putting up fences against refugees, Pope Francis embraces them

How did you want to portray Pope Francis?

I thought to myself that this man has very ambitious goals, and that he demands a lot from himself by having called himself Francis. After all, Saint Francis was a revolutionary and a visionary in his time; and he would still be today. He was the first person to understand that something was going wrong between nature and humanity.

Today, Saint Francis would be a radical ecologist. And he has the courage to stand up for his ideals against any kind of opposition while also fighting for social justice, against discrimination, and especially against the horrible exploitation of our planet; as well as highlighting the fact that those suffering most from this ecological disaster are the poorest of the poor. 

Everybody who watches the film will be emotionally affected by it. This Pope has an incredible power, and the ability to reach out to everybody with his simple message.

Read morePope calls for peace in Syria and across the Middle East

Is the Pope a kind of punk who demands revolution and social change?

He's quite rock'n'roll I think. And he's very courageous for behaving that way. Once in a while, this cheerfulness streams out of him. And he loves to laugh. At times he's even a bit cheeky. And he doesn't take himself so damn seriously — as many others do. 

He has a very high degree of moral integrity. That's something that, nowadays, can hardly be said about many people. One would rather think that moral integrity is on the decline. In our current world, people hold on to power who are not at all capable of leading people.

Finally, he is someone who can be wholly trusted. Everybody who opens up to this Pope and his words in the film will then become a part of the transformation.

Read more'Wings of Desire': Wim Wenders' restored masterpiece revives divided Berlin

The pope poses for a selfie photo with a young man (Facebook/Daniel Bashir)

The Pope wants to be close to the people, and doesn't shy away from selfies

How important is this film to you personally?

I have been going Cannes [where the film premiered on May 13, editor's note] for decades now. I have been here with many of my films, but there was always something personal for which I am responsible, something that I brought into the world.

In the case of this film, it's different. Right from the beginning, this film was intended as a mouthpiece for this man and his astonishing message. What I wanted to share is my opinion that this man is more capable than anybody else on the planet of changing the world.

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