Nanni Moretti’s We Have a Pope
I have to admit that for a ten-year period of my life, I’d forsaken all my Italian roots. I still knew how to make a mean plate of pasta, enjoyed the occasional Roberto Benigni film and felt insulted anytime someone addressed me as “you Americans”, but I had no clue about politics, culture and the general goings-on of my native land.
Then I attended the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, this past year, and found myself booking tickets to Nanni Moretti’s latest film Habemus Papam (We Have a Pope). It was more subconscious than anything, as the last film I had actually watched of Moretti was Caro Diario, more than 20 years ago and remembered him as a filmmaker who basically poked fun at himself, his social class and Italian idiosyncrasies. I approached the screening thinking I would, at the very least get a good laugh and get to hear my native tongue.
What I definitely did not expect was a film that would change my life. Change it in the sense that I reconnected to my roots, found new inspiration thereafter in the writers and artist of my country, started yearning of home. This wave of cultural overwhelm culminated in two extraordinary interviews this year: One with Italian national hero and splendid writer Roberto Saviano, and the other with Nanni Moretti himself, who is everything you would think him to be and much, much more.
Now, I’ve come full circle. I have gone through the red, green and white colored glasses phase, where my fellow Italians could do no wrong, and came back around to a neutral place, where I feel at home in Rome as I do in NYC, but also appreciate the challenges ahead for my Patria and know I can contribute my small bit to make it better. In an Italy that has finally shed its Berlusconi-esque image to the world and has started to regain the class and substance for which we have always been known.
The film that started it all, We Have a Pope, opens in the US this Friday in limited release, distributed by Sundance Selects, and then will be available ON-Demand throughout the US starting April 10th. I suggest watching it, to understand Italy, the Italians and world politics a bit better. In a deeper, more insightful way.
Top image courtesy of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival