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Cardinals Meeting Inside Vatican to Elect a New Pope -- Real-Life 'Habemus Papam'?

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood March 4, 2013 at 2:45PM

Four days following Pope Benedict XVI's official step-down from the papacy, more than 100 cardinals are rallying inside the Vatican to begin the election of a new pope. Anyone familiar with Italian auteur Nanni Moretti's Catholicism comedy "Habemus Papam" ("We Have a Pope"), in which a reluctant cardinal (Michel Piccoli) begrudgingly is elected pope and sees a shrink (Moretti) in order to try and come to terms with accepting the job, can grin at the possibility of life imitating art.
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Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI

Four days following Pope Benedict XVI's official step-down from the papacy, more than 100 cardinals are rallying inside the Vatican to begin the election of a new pope. Anyone familiar with Italian auteur Nanni Moretti's Catholicism comedy "Habemus Papam" ("We Have a Pope"), in which a reluctant cardinal (Michel Piccoli) begrudgingly is elected pope and sees a shrink (Moretti) in order to try and come to terms with accepting the job, can grin at the possibility of life imitating art. (Our Cannes interview with Moretti is here.)

Reportedly the cardinals are excited at the prospect of a new pope, with one Portuguese cardinal telling TV crews, "A Latin-American pope is possible, anything is possible!"

Nanni Moretti in 'We Have a Pope'
Nanni Moretti in 'We Have a Pope'

Preparations for the conclave are rigorous, with security measures including closing the Sistine Chapel and confirming that the Vatican hotel is debugged. Many observers, including documentarian Alex Gibney ("Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God") have wondered if Benedict XVI's role in the Catholic Church's handling of its burgeoning sex abuse problems may have led to his stepping down. 

"Habemus Papam" is available on Amazon Video.

This article is related to: News, News, Habemus Papam (We Have A Pope), Nanni Moretti


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.