Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cannes Film Festival

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cannes Film Festival

Article excerpt

Byline: DEREK MALCOLM

WE HAVE A POPE UNFORTUNATELY we do not have a Pope in Nanni Moretti's long awaited Vatican film. Cardinal Melville, a mildmannered prelate, beautifully played by Michel Piccoli, gets elected after an indecisive ballot, the puff of white smoke goes up over the Vatican, the crowds cheer but no new Pope appears. Melville refuses to go out onto the balcony to give the usual blessing and the cardinals haven't the faintest idea what to do about it.

Eventually a therapist is called (Nanni Moretti himself ) but he can't do his work properly with a line of cardinals watching in case some deadly secret is exposed. Meanwhile Jerzy Stuhr's head of protocol keeps on making non-committal announcements to the journalists who have begun to suspect something is up.

Thus far the film is fine. The Vatican is well created in Cinecitta Studios, and Moretti's cast of elderly actors make very likely cardinals. But then Moretti the actor takes over and the whole thing becomes a rather feeble comedy. …

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