In 2012, a series of secret meetings took place between Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI (Sir Anthony Hopkins), and his eventual successor, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce). Fernando Meirelles (City of God) dramatises the unknown substance of these conversations in a series of brilliantly scripted, speculative tête-à-têtes, delivered by two veteran actors essaying wonderfully realised versions of the two men, diametrically opposed on ideological lines.
The Vatican is being rocked by a series of child sex abuse scandals among the clergy, and Ratzinger, an ultra-conservative traditionalist, is about to resign, becoming the first pontiff to do so in more than six centuries. Belatedly recognising that change is necessary if the church is to survive and evolve, he summons the progressive, forward-thinking Bergoglio to his summer retreat for a private audience.
(Notes by David O’Mahony.)
Don’t forget we now schedule weekly.