IDFA Review: In Viaggio

When Pope Francis, aka Jorge Mario Bergoglio, became head of the Catholic Church and God’s emissary on Earth in 2013, he became the first pontiff from the Americas. He took control at a time of great difficulty for the ancient institution. While the world had entered a period of political and social turbulence, the church was facing a number of child sexual abuse allegations. Values within progressive societies were changing, bringing them into direct conflict with more traditional nations.

In the year he came into power, Francis made his first trip to Lampedusa, both the scene of countless migrant deaths and the place where director Gianfranco Rosi filmed two of his documentaries. This piqued the interest of the award-winning filmmaker and spurred him to start looking through the archive. Tracking the Pope on a total of 37 trips across 53 countries during his reign. In Viaggio creates a mosaic of a man on a mission.

In Viaggio is a thoughtful film which considers the role of the head of a major church in the modern world. We see the ups and downs. The big speeches and the small glances. What becomes evidentially clear is that Francis is no po-faced papal PR agent. While this afford us glimpses of his personality it also shows he is far from infallible. A fact he’d probably be first to agree with. In Viaggio is a slight but fascinating voyeuristic portrait of a complex figure.

In Viaggio screens at IDFA.

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