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Sunday, July 09, 2017

The Young Pope

This week's DVD rental was The Young Pope, a 10 episode English-language Italian tv series from HBO. It stars Jude Law (Gattaca, Enemy at the Gates, A.I.), Diane Keaton, James Cromwell, and Sebastian Roché.

The story begins as Lenny Belardo (Law) has just been elected pope. Abandoned by his parents at a Catholic orphanage as a boy, Lenny was raised by Sister Mary, grew up to become a priest under the mentoring of NY Archbishop Spencer (Cromwell), and then archbishop and cardinal. The conclave of cardinals chooses him as the first American pope because they believe he is nondescript and malleable, but instead they find he is a ruthless and damaged autocrat who does not really believe in God.

I haven't watched much HBO stuff because its shows are notorious for treating women characters like things (HBO Slammed For Sexual Violence Against Women in Its Shows), and so far this show seems to have more than it's share of unpleasant sexual encounters. I'm still watching but it isn't a show I'd ever want to revisit.

But, it's interesting from a Catholic point of view to see a facsimile of what the Vatican is like and how it's run .... the show had the help of Vatican experts. The sets and costumes are very nice and the cinematography is nice too.

Here's the title sequence of the show (from episode 3) with the pope walking past a line of famous paintings. As he walks, a little comet (or the holy spirit?) proceeds him through the paintings, bringing the characters and things within them to life. For some reason the video clip doesn't show all the animation in the paintings, only just a bit (see the the fire burning in the last painting, The St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre?), but if you watch the series, you'll get the whole effect. And in the background plays the tune of Jimi Hendrix' Watchtower ...

Here's a look behind the scenes ...


Anonymous Richard said...

Interested in you thoughts on this...much different that what I expected, its been several months and still not sure if I liked it.

10:50 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

I've only seen 3 episodes so far, but it is kind of disturbing. It shows the flaws of a dictatorship kind of system, yet in a way this is what is happening with us in the US and Trump too .... a crazy person with too much power and no real fidelity to the system has somehow taken control and is doing damage.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

yes, but then all this other strange stuff happens....stay tuned:) I may have to re watch a few episodes if I have time (Winter is coming to Westeros this weekend you know)

10:13 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

I haven't watched any of the Game of Thrones series. What I've been mostly watching lately - Once Upon a Time, Agents of Shield, Designated Survivor, The Last Ship, Lucifer.

10:38 AM  

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