It may have just premiered last Sunday on HBO, but “The Young Pope” has already aired in Europe, and there are plenty of clips on the Internet.
The one below is from episode five — the last of the episodes HBO made available to the press — and it features former American cardinal Lenny Belardo, a k a Pope Pius XIII, as he give his long-awaited address to the assembled cardinals.
It’s a doozy. And you might be surprised by your reaction to parts of it.
If you want to learn more about the series, click here for my review (based on the first five) and here for some reactions I garnered at a recent press event for “The Young Pope” (with a surprising Trump-ian twist).
Here’s a taste, featuring a question I asked at the press conference of Italian writer/director Paolo Sorrentino:
QUESTION: Question for Paolo. The Church, of course, is a dramatic entity in itself. It’s got a lot of fascinating characters and fascinating stories, especially today, so why did you choose to do this really imaginative, hyper, not realistic version of the Church? What attracted you to doing that rather than dramatizing something a little closer to actual reality?PAOLO SORRENTINO: Because it could be possible that after Pope Francis, the next Pope, he could be somebody like the character of Jude Law. This is the thing that many experts in the Church told me. And so the idea was to do a sort of next Pope, the future Pope. Yeah.
QUESTION: And the series doesn’t seem to be satire at all or anything like that. What are you trying to say in this series? What was the theme you’re trying to put forward?
PAOLO SORRENTINO: The subject is about the ‑‑ mostly about the solitude of the power and the solitude of the man and how the solitude or the loneliness of being a person to have the big question about the existence of God, about what God is for us.
As I’ve said before, this is not a realistic depiction of the Church, nor is it presented as such. It’s a fantasy, like “24” was a fantasy version of counterterrorism, or “The X-Files” was a fantasy version of the FBI. All of the secular reviews I’ve read of “The Young Pope” indicate that even the press realizes they’re not looking at some kind of a docudrama.
But that doesn’t mean “The Young Pope” can’t spark some interesting discussions, and I suspect it will.
Image: Courtesy HBO