Page 30

FILM

FILM SHORTS BY JEFF BERG

M

ichael Winterbottom is one of the most diverse directors in the business today. His repertoire ranges from the excellent western, The Claim to the dark Trishna sex drama 9 Aug. 10-16 Screen Songs. Trishna, times: 3, 5:30, 8p his newest Guild Cinema film, is an 3405 Central NE, 505.255.1848 updated version ifcfilms.com/films/ of Thomas trishna Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles that takes place in India. Trishna’s life is taken apart slowly when she meets and marries a rich Englishbred hotel owner. From a poor family, she is unable to escape the lifestyle thrust (emphasis on thrust) upon her until it is too late. Dark and brooding.

T Veteran French actor Michel Piccolo portrays the trepidatious Cardinal Melville in Nanni Moretti’s We Have A Pope. After being elected the new pontiff by his fellow cardinals, Melville deals with a gripping bout of anxiety regarding his new position as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and does everything he can other than step into the role.

Man of inaction ‘We Have a Pope’ explores what would happen if the next pope didn’t want the job BY MIKE ENGLISH

T

he anti-action film is not exactly a big-budget genre in the movie industry. We filmgoers typically prefer our stars to decisively stride across the terrain and get ‘er done. Yet human traits of uncertainty, doubt and simply not wanting to take the lead are exactly the dramatic and humorous terrain of We Have a Pope, a film made all the more intriguing REVIEW because these character traits are so seldom explored in cinema. We Have a Veteran French actor Michel Piccolo plays the role of Cardinal Melville, who is elected by a conclave of his peers as the next pontiff in a secretive two-day stretch of balloting. Everyone among the 100 or so cardinals is happy with the choice. A puff of white smoke is sent up the chimney of the Vatican, and the outside world awaits word.

Pope DIRECTED BY NANNI MORETTI 4:30, 7:15p, Aug. 17-20 Guild Cinema 3405 Central NE, 505.255.1848 guildcinema.com ifcfilms.com/films/ we-have-a-pope

But there’s a slight problem. As a senior cardinal approaches the Vatican balcony and announces to the vast crowd Habemus Papam! (“We have a pope!”), Cardinal Melville cringes in a chair, paralyzed. When prodded by his colleagues to buck up, play his part and address the crowd, Melville literally screams and runs away, yelling, “I can’t do this!” His Holiness is soothed, cajoled, berated and outright ordered to accept his role as the Pope (“Do an act of obedience to the Lord!” the frustrated

30 LOCAL iQ

Vatican public relations man yells at one point), but Melville is simply not able. When a church-appointed therapist is brought in to diagnose the problem (played with humor and spark by Nanni Moretti, who also directs), Melville flatly tells him, “God sees abilities I don’t have.” The crisis worsens when Vatican security attempts to transport Melville across town, under cover, to yet another therapist. After the session the pontiff, wearing civilian clothes, is able to slip away into the crowds. And so goes the dynamic for the rest of the film: the Pope wanders the streets, stops into play rehearsals, stays in a hotel room, all the while trying to figure out why he can’t accept the responsibility of his new role. “I have a parental deficit,” he tells a pastry chef, using the therapyspeak he’s recently learned, “but I don’t know what that is.” Meanwhile, at the Vatican, no one knows the Pope has left the grounds. They all think he is lurking behind the curtains in his quarters, but that’s just a Swiss Guard playing the role of the pontiff — a scheme cooked up by the public relations man, whose efforts to keep the entire situation from unraveling lends the movie some levity. Piccolo plays the unwilling pontiff with the perfect mix of anxiety, fear and confusion, all expressed in his face and with minimal dialogue. (His character name is likely a nod to Moby Dick author Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby the Scrivener,” in which Bartleby’s inability to seize life is captured in his repeated response, “I would prefer not.”) The papal dilemma at the heart of the movie is only resolved when the cardinals, finally alerted to his absence, track down Melville at a play. They take him back to the Vatican to address the crowd, and the Pope’s speech, when delivered, goes to the heart of the film’s themes about leadership, action and embracing life. We Have a Pope is a quiet movie — the opposite of a rapidly paced action flick. But that’s the point, really. Sometimes a hero just doesn’t want to be.

| ALBUQUERQUE’S INTELLIGENT ALTERNATIVE | AUGUST 9 - 22, 2012

his outstanding documentary covers the life, work and, most importantly, the political activism of the Chinese contemporary/performance artist Ai Wei Wei. Blended Ai Wei Wei: Never with his Sorry topical work Opens Aug. 17. and outspoken CCA Santa Fe voice, he has 1050 Old Pecos Trail, remained a Santa Fe, 505.982.1338 fearless and aiweiweineversorry.com outspoken opponent of the Chinese governments human rights abuses and censorship of the same. The film takes many forms of his art — from filmmaking to an amazing project that entailed a roomful of sunflower seeds. Strong and moving.

“O,

wretched excess,” someone once wrote. Such is the case for the Siegel family, who go from riches to nearly rags in this stomach churning documentary. Queen of Versailles With their Opens Aug. 10 eight kids, Century 14 multitude of 100 Central SW, undisciplined 505.243.9555 CCA Santa Fe dogs and 1050 Old Pecos Trail, no scruples, Santa Fe, 505.982.1338 this tale of magpictures.com/ ultimate greed thequeenofversailles and stupidity follows them as they (mostly she) buys everything in sight until the “big crash” strips them of cash. Still in denial when construction on their 90,000 square foot house comes to an end, common sense still fails them ... perhaps rightly so. Fascinating and nauseating.

The Back to School Fashion Issue  

Three different levels of school, many new looks for the back to school set. Plus: Scooters are huge in Albuquerque. Local iQ profiles the s...

The Back to School Fashion Issue  

Three different levels of school, many new looks for the back to school set. Plus: Scooters are huge in Albuquerque. Local iQ profiles the s...

Advertisement