Archive for the ‘Fernando Meirelles’ Category

The Papal Tango

The Two Popes

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce, Juan Minujin, Luis Gnecco, Cristina Banegas, Sidney Cole, Libero de Rienzo

Please note The Two Popes is only available on Netflix and did not receive a comprehensive theatrical release.

Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (Constant Gardener, City of God, 360) brings us a sumptuous glimpse into the conclave or the voting of a new Pope behind the magnificent walls of the Vatican City in Rome in his latest Netflix film The Two Popes starring Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) as Cardinal Ratzinger who become Pope Benedict and Jonathan Pryce (The Wife, Carrington) as the Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio who eventually becomes Pope Francis.

The Two Popes focuses on a clash of ideals between a conservative Cardinal Ratzinger expertly played by Hopkins who is intent on holding the Catholic church back from any contemporary reforms or even discussing any recent controversies that have recently tainted the Catholic Church including the sexual abuse scandal which the Oscar winning film Spotlight so brilliantly explored in the American archdiocese in Massachusetts and in other states.

Cardinal Bergoglio superbly played by Jonathan Pryce is a progressive thinking Cardinal who would like to make the Catholic Church accessible to the impoverished masses especially in Latin America where Catholicism dominates so proficiently.

Bergoglio has endured his own dark history in Argentina as he desperately tried to protect the left wing subversive Jesuit priests in Buenos Aires from a brutal right wing military junta which gained power in Argentina in a 1976 coup killing thousands of dissidents known as The Dirty War: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_War .

Controversially, Bergoglio was viewed in his own country as compromising with the military junta and was exiled in Argentina for many years as punishment for colluding with a regime which forced thousands of people to disappear in Argentina’s most brutal decade until democracy was eventually restored in 1983 following the Argentine military defeat by the British during the Falklands War.

The younger Jorge Bergoglio is wonderfully played by Argentinian actor Juan Minujin (Focus) as he deals with the moral dilemma of remaining true to his faith while supposedly appeasing a harsh military dictatorship.

With an insightful script by Anthony McCarten, the most rewarding scenes in The Two Popes are the brilliant scenes between Cardinals Bergoglio and Ratzinger as the older Cardinal announces his intention to renounce the papacy. Both Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce nail their roles as the respective diametrically opposed Cardinals, speaking in multiple languages who form a formidable bond over Roman pizza and Argentinian football.

The Two Popes is a stunning portrait of two men who hold the fate of the entire Catholic world in their hands yet seemingly toy with subjects ranging from confession to modernization while both revealing their own inner demons. Fernando Meirelles directs the film with his usual visual flourish as the action alternates between the lavish grandeur of the Vatican City to the bustling metropolis of Buenos Aires.

The Two Popes is a stunning portrait of two men who hold the fate of the entire Catholic world in their hands yet seemingly toy with subjects ranging from confession to modernization while both revealing their own inner demons. Fernando Meirelles directs the film with his usual visual flourish as the action alternates between the lavish grandeur of the Vatican City to the bustling metropolis of Buenos Aires.

Carousel of Desire

Three Sixty

From the Brazilian Director Fernando Meirelles whose previous films include the Oscar-winning adaptation of the John le Carre novel, The Constant Gardner and the highly acclaimed City of God, comes his latest film Three Sixty collaborating with Oscar winning scriptwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen) who deftly interweaves a complex narrative tapestry focusing on humanity’s ever spinning carousel of desires connecting each character around the world. Three Sixty premiered at the 2011 London International Film Festival and the 2012 Durban International Film Festival and is a brilliant virtuoso look at how humanity is connected through love, weakness, temptation and sex.

Three Sixty features an international cast and is a series of interconnected character studies set in Vienna, Bratislava, Paris, London, Denver and Phoenix and includes wonderful yet brief performances by Rachel Wiesz, who garnered an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in The Constant Gardner, Jude Law, Ben Foster, Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets and Lies) and Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins as well as a host of lesser known Eastern European, Brazilian and French stars.

Three Sixty is a thought-provoking look at how sexual desire traverses all geographical boundaries while love, temptation, blackmail and infidelity abound around the globe connecting all nationalities, cultures and religions. Watch out for a wonderful performance by Anthony Hopkins as a recovering alcoholic searching for his missing daughter in Phoenix, Arizona or Jude Law as a less than proper British business man Michael Daly being caught in a web of blackmail in Vienna and Rachel Wiesz as his wife Rose who is far from faithful back in London.

The real star of the film is Ben Foster in a superb cameo as a shaven-head ex-con Tyler, recently paroled sex offender stranded in the snowbound Denver International Airport en route to Phoenix struggling with his inner demons. Russian actor Vladimir Vdovichenkov makes an impression playing Sergei a Russian gangster’s driver willing to make a break from an abusive boss and escape with an innocent woman. Three-Sixty is in German, French, Portuguese and English but is a spell bounding portrayal of humanity traveling around the globe and taking all their urges, desires and ambitions with them, a surprising sexual thriller by one of international cinema’s more enigmatic and brilliant directors. Recommended as a thought-provoking film and will surely make any viewer want to hop on a plane to an exotic city and escape, transfer or express one’s own forbidden sexual desires…

 

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