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FRANCESCO AND THE POPE (FRANCESCO UND DER PAPST)

FRANCESCO AND THE POPE
Scene from FRANCESCO AND THE POPE (photo © Constantin Film Verleih)

Pope Benedict XVI, 81, is the spiritual leader of more than a billion Catholic Christians. In this film, we accompany him on his journeys abroad as well as in his daily activities at the Vatican, and witness the challenges facing faith and the Papacy in our secularized and globalized world. The film lets us glimpse behind the Leonine Walls to observe a church pulled between preservation and renewal.

Francesco lives away from his family. His parents are getting divorced; he struggles with coming to good terms with his father and his siblings. He finds a new home in the Schola Cantorum, a boarding school for boys lead by the church. His goal is to become a singer in the Cappella Musicale Pontificia. But first, he needs to master his time of probation. In the end, the nine-year-old’s wish comes true: he is allowed to perform in the Sistine Chapel at a small private concert in honor of the Pope.

The head of the Cappella, 69-year-old Giuseppe Liberto, even becomes a father-figure type friend to Francesco. And the former has got a surprise for the young boy: Francesco will sing the first children’s solo of the Pueri Cantores at the annual reception given by the Holy Father at the Sistine Chapel.

The beguilingly beautiful music brings them together: the Pope, firmly leads the church into the future on the basis of its great tradition, and the young boy, who despite growing up in a world full of conflicts is now striving with new self-confidence into a future full of hope.


Ciro Cappellari was born in Buenos Aires in 1959 where he trained to be a photographer and made his first short films. In 1985, he came to Berlin to study at the German Film & Television Academy (dffb) and has worked as a screenwriter, director and cameraman since 1990. He was DoP on films by Marcel Gisler, Didi and Pepe Danquart, including the Oscar®-winning BLACK RIDER (SCHWARZFAHRER, 1993). He has directed AMOR AMERICA (documentary, 1989), HIJO DEL RIO (1991), SIN QUERER (1997), IN BERLIN (2009, together with Michael Ballhaus), and FRANCESO AND THE POPE (2011).
Genre Religion, Society
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2011
Director Ciro Cappellari
Screenplay Ciro Cappellari
Cinematography Ciro Cappellari
Cast Francesco Giuffra, Lorenzo Giuffra, Rosa Maria Giuffra, Maestro Giuseppe Liberto, Monsignore Marcos Pavani
Producers Peter Weckert, Norbert Preuss
Co-Producer Oliver Berben
Production Company Fanes Film/Munich, in co-production with Constantin Film Produktion, Beta Film
Length 87 min
Format HDCAM, color, 1:1.85
Original Version
 Italian
Subtitled Version English
With backing from FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, German Federal Film Fund, German Federal Film Board
German Distributor Constantin Film Verleih

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