LE FIGARO. – What is it that has you interested in the pope’s personality and you want him to make a documentary?
Wim Wenders. – May be the fact that he is the first pope to have chosen the name of Francis. Francis of Assisi is a great hero of my childhood: the only one that impressed me, because he spoke to the birds. I tried and I failed – they did not understand me!… This link with him was counted because the name of Francis is the wish to render justice to an extraordinary legacy: the relationship with nature, the poverty, the peace between the religions. This is the most complete program for today. Moreover, pope Francis is also a jesuit, with an enormous joy to think about and a great independence of spirit. I know a lot of jesuits and franciscans; in south America, the two orders have had an enormous influence, and the combination of the two makes a mixture very rich of independence and radicalism.
What was your approach for this film?
I tried to find access to his thought, his action, through the name of Francis. Make a biography does not interest me, and I wanted to avoid the side exaggeration of the culture, “people”, should be so little to this modest man. I used the video archives of the Vatican, in particular, to follow him in his travels around the world. And in the interviews, I wanted to give him the opportunity to speak directly to the people, looking each in the eyes. The cinema is the art of the close, and he speaks from the outset of the close proximity, it is a subject dear to his heart.
” READ ALSO The speech of pope Francis, credo of the next documentary by Wim Wenders
“Nobody has asked for anything, and never intervened in my work. I would have even liked to have some constraints, but I was alone with my film”
Some have seen in this film a work of propaganda, and you responded…
The initial proposal came from the Vatican, but then I had carte blanche. The film has been financed, designed and assembled in a way that is totally independent. Nobody has asked for anything, and never intervened in my work. I would have even liked to have some constraints, but I was alone with my film. I have not adopted an approach “critical” in the sense that it should pronounce for or against, I did not involve third-party who provide conflicting opinions. I’m lucky to have a direct meeting. And if this creates empathy, I don’t see why this would be less valid than the distance cold. My moral stance has been to put the viewer in contact with the person of the pope. He is invited to see and listen to it, simply.
*pope Francis, a man of his word, editions Universal. With a 48-page booklet. 19,99€