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Who's Your Favorite Movie Pope?

Thompson on Hollywood By Carrie Rickey | Thompson on Hollywood March 11, 2013 at 9:24AM

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.
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Michel Piccoli in "We Have a Pope"
Michel Piccoli in "We Have a Pope"

During this papal interregnum, the best source of Vatican news is coming from South Philly blogger Rocco Palmo, whose blog reportedly is the go-to site for news and gossip about papal succession.

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.)

Read the rest of this article here.

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


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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.