The great jouney of Pope Francis
The apostolic missions of Pope Francis narrated in a touching documentary by Gianfranco Rosi: On a journey”, presented at the Cinema exhibition of Venice and in the theatres of Italy, from the 4th of October of last year. The words, the gazes, the meetings of the pontificate to bring hope and light in a suffering world.
Travelling, for Pope Francis means reaching the other, meeting them, helping them. To bring them body and word of life. Travelling means looking them in the eyes, touching them, listening to them. Reiterate him beloved brother. «You are not alone», says Bergoglio at the crowd gathered in the favela of Verginha, in Brazil, when he visits it in 2013: one of the «37 apostolic journeys» done «in 59 countries» from when he was Pontificate. This is explained by the caption that opens the potent, painful and leaden documentary – but with huge and regenerating rays of sun – directed by Gianfranco Rosi and presented (out of competition in the official selection ) at the last Cinema exhibition of Venice: its entitled “On a Journey”, it is in the cinemas of Italy since the 4th of October of last year – day of Saint Francis – and is a passionate observation, an attentive listening, participation, of the Holy Father in his bringing of love whilst travelling the world.
The Italian teacher of non-fiction, already author of precious works like Fuocoammare (Golden Bear at Berlin in 2016), shot in Lampedusa on the tragedy of the migrants, and of Notturno (presented always at Venice in 2020), on women and men in the war-torn Middle East, he doesn’t omit the clouds and the gloominess of our times from his film, the cry of pain of the sick body and soul of the world. He shows these (also) with touching fragments of his works: the same radar of Fuocoammare, for example, that captivate the desperate and lancinating voices of the migrants in the middle of the sea. Yet in this devouring grey, there is light; the dark mists in which we move are answered by the hope and confidence contained in the Pope’s words to the people of the world: Francis composes repeatedly, patiently, with extreme decision, the indications of an exit. He does so with a flood of substance and beauty that starts from the Lampedusa Island, first stop of his pontificate, and crosses Iraq, Chile, Malta, Cuba, the United States, the arab Emirates, the Philippines, Armenia, Kenya, Mexico, the Central African Republic, amongst the others, amongst the many countries and cultures met. North and South of the world.
The director, a traveler and attentive towards the last suffering as well, stitches this accurate answer made of unmistakable sentences, as simple as incisive, humble, but strong and definite, that while they model, accumulating, an efficient portrait of Bergoglio, regenerate the spirit of those who listen to them in the film. «It is not the culture of egoism and individualism – says the Pope – that builds a more livable world, but that of solidarity». He adds «the other isn’t a competitor, a number: he is a brother. We are all brothers». He warns «Or we live the happenings together otherwise there won’t be a future». He clarifies: « The human tragedy that forced migration represents nowadays is a global phenomenon, and this crisis can be defined in numbers, but we ask to define it with names, stories and families».
It is a fact of faces and bodies that look at each other and hold each other tightly, the documentary “On a journey”, of painful words also capable of inviting us to «dream». Words to defend the poor, the migrants, of the Creation, the dignity of every person. Words for interreligious dialogue, amongst diversity, for the continuous start-up of solidarity and the attention towards the next person. Words against «a society that has forgotten the experience of crying, of suffering with someone». Words against «the globalization of indifference that has taken away from us the capacity to cry» in front of the migrant’s tragedy. Words also capable of apologizing for the mistakes made, and words, many, strong, against the war. Of request for pardon to the Father for this. «Forgive us the war, Father. Stop Cane’s hand – says the Pope resuming the prayer of Mons. Mimmo Battaglia – do not abandon us in our actions. And when you will have stopped the hand of Cane, take care of him as well, our brother».
But there are also moments of silence, many, deeply communicative, in the long documentary of Gianfranco Rosi. Those of Pope Francis: silences of prayers, reflective, of compassion, of vicinity, of states of mind in front of a world in storm. The first is in the beginning of the film, juxtaposed with the earth metaphorically flipped, filmed from the international space station. From up there, from the repertoire extrapolated from the Pope’s connection with the astronauts, we can observe it without borders, with a thin atmosphere that reminds us of our fragilities and maybe, especially for this, increases the facility to live as human beings, reminding us to collaborate for a better future. «You’ll are a small glass building», says the Pope with the same suit, of different nations united in harmony, in the space, for a noble scope. To be «instruments of peace», continues Bergoglio in another intervention of this film, that reaches the heart touching the heart of the world. That it is at the same time a strong and encouraging film, as it shows the wounds but also the great gift of humanity that cures and saves.