Pope Francis Biopic Call Me Francesco
Courtesy of Mediaset/Medusa

The American premiere of “Call Me Francesco,” the biopic based on the life of Pope Francis, will launch the Los Angeles Italian Film Festival on Feb. 21 at the Chinese Six Theaters at Los Angeles.

Directed by Italian filmmaker Daniele Luchetti, “Call Me Francesco” chronicles the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as a young man in Buenos Aires before finding his calling to become a Jesuit priest, and follows him as he rose through the ranks of archbishop and cardinal struggling with difficult decisions in the face of military dictatorship before, in 2013, becoming the first pontiff ever from the Americas.

Argentinian actor Rodrigo De la Serna (“The Motorcycle Diaries”) stars in the title role. The film is produced by Pietro Valsecchi for Medusa in collaboration with Mediaset’s Taodue and is distributed by Medusa in Italy.

“There is no one in today’s world who is more beloved and admired than Pope Francis,” said festival topper Pascal Vicedomini. “We are truly pleased to be bringing this inspirational film about his remarkable life to Hollywood as the opening film of this year’s festival.”

The festival includes a first-ever U.S. retrospective of films by the noted Italian writer-director Mario Martone, including “Leopardi,” based on the life of Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi; “Nasty Love,” based on the novel by mystery author Elena Ferrante; and the historical drama “We Believed.”

The festival also includes the world premiere of Massimo Gaudioso’s “An Almost Perfect Tow,” starring Silvio Orlando and Carlo Buccirosso; Carlo Carlei’s “The Boudary,” starring Caterina Shulha; Massimo Natale’s “The Interpreter,” starring Claudia Gerini; Francesco Cinquemani’s “Andron,” starring Alec Baldwin, Danny Glover and Leo Howard; and Raffaele Verzillo’s “Breathless,” starring Francesca Neri.

The festival includes the American premieres of four of the latest top-ranked Italian comedies – Carlo Verdone’s “The Big Score,” Paolo Genovese’s “Perfect Strangers,” Guido Chiesa’s “Belli di Papa” and Marco Ponti’s “Loving Only You,” as well as the American premiere of the Vinicio Capossela starrer “The Coppoloni Stories.”

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