When it comes to films about the church, I’m partial to nun
films (“The Nun’s Story,” “The Sound of Music,” “The Trouble With Angels,” “Therese,” “Black Narcissus”) than pope movies, because the pontiff is usually a
distant authoritarian rather than a fleshed-out character.
Still, I have some favorite film popes, including,
improbably, John Goodman as Pope Sergius in “Pope Joan” (the 2009 movie starring
Johanna Wokaluk as the 9th-century woman who, though Vatican historians say it
never happened, according to legend posed as a male, and was elevated to pope).
As Pope Joan, Wokaluk says something to the effect that women are superior to
men because Eve ate the apple for the love of knowledge and Adam did it only
because Eve asked.
Who could fail to love Michel Piccoli in “Habemus Papam,” the
2011 Nanni Moretti film about the cardinal who, when elected Pope, has a panic
attack and consults a psychoanalyst who is an atheist? (Check out our TOH! interview with Moretti here.)
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