×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Telluride: Audience Laughs and Cries During ‘The Two Popes’ World Premiere

Little did the audience at the world premiere of “The Two Popes” know that the papal two-hander is actually very funny.

No, it’s not a comedy, but the jokes and ribbing between Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and the future pope, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), played well in the packed Chuck Jones’ Cinema, as did hearing Abba’s “Dancing Queen” played over footage of the College of Cardinals making its way into the Vatican for the Papal election.

In other words, director Fernando Meirelles’ film, inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign and subsequent transfer of power to the more progressive Cardinal Bergoglio, is not a straight drama. Although the film did earn the audience’s admiration, and some sniffles toward its end.

A quick survey of audience members, including Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, described Hopkins and Pryce’s work as a “masterclass” in acting, but will Hopkins and Pryce make it to the Oscars?

Netflix certainly hopes so, especially as the season shapes up to be a tight race between high-profile performances from actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Adam Driver in Netflix’s “Marriage Story,” Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in the still-to-be-seen “The Irishman” (also Netflix) and Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker,” which received an eight-minute standing ovation on Saturday night at the Venice Film Festival.

Heaven knows why “The Two Popes” didn’t premiere at Venice. If anything seemed tailor-made for the Italian fest it was a movie about the supreme pontiff. But comedy aside, Meirelles said during the intro of the film that he was interested in Pope Francis because of his progressiveness and social activism.

“I’m feeling that there’s something out of place in the world,” he said, before praising Pope Francis for “building bridges” during a time when certain leaders (he didn’t name names) are more interested in dividing people with “physical walls, economic walls and technical walls.”

Written by Oscar-nominated “Darkest Hour” screenwriter Anthony McCarten, Meirelles said, “This film is about tolerance and learning to listen to one another.”

Pryce acknowledged that “The Two Popes” was a “unique films these days…two old men talking about politics and morality.”

He added, “This film needs to be seen.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Tops 'Joker,' 'Zombieland'

    “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is on track to give Disney another first place finish after scoring $12.5 million in Friday’s domestic ticket sales. If estimates hold, the Angelina Jolie-led film should finish the weekend with about $38 million — well below earlier forecasts but enough to top holdover “Joker” and fellow newcomer “Zombieland: Double Tap.” [...]

  • Maelle Arnaud

    Lumière Chief Programmer Maelle Arnaud: 'Film History Doesn't Have Parity'

    LYON, France   — As the Lumière Institute’s head programmer since 2001, Maelle Arnaud helped launched the Lumière Festival in 2009 and has watched it grow in international esteem over the decade that followed. This year, the festival ran 190 films across 424 screenings in theaters all over town. The festival will come to a [...]

  • Girl with Green Eyes

    Talking Pictures TV: Bringing the Past Back to Life in the U.K.

    LYON, France – Since its launch in 2015, Talking Pictures TV has become the fastest-growing independent channel in the U.K. with a growing library of British film and TV titles that span five decades, according to founder Noel Cronin. Noel Cronin attended the Lumière Festival’s International Classic Film Market (MIFC) in Lyon, France, where he [...]

  • Wings of Desire

    German Heritage Sector Applauds Increased Digitization, Preservation Funding

    LYON, France  — Germany’s film heritage sector is celebrating a new federal and state-funded initiative launching in January that will provide €10 million ($11.15 million) a year towards the digitization and preservation of feature films. Rainer Rother, the artistic director of the Deutsche Kinemathek, outlined the plan at a panel discussion at the Lumière Festival’s [...]

  • 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    Film Review: 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma [...]

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    Why Emma Stone Was Haunted by Fear of Vomiting While Shooting 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains a slight spoiler for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” The zombie slayers are back! Ten years after Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin first killed dead people walking in “Zombieland,” they’ve reunited for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” “You take stock of your life a little bit,” Stone says of [...]

  • Hereditary

    The Best Horror Films to Stream Right Now

    Good horror movies aren’t always easy to scare up, but with Halloween on the horizon, Variety has compiled a list of some of the best horror films available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. NETFLIX Apostle Cult horror meets religious hypocrisy in this creepy gothic thriller, which follows prodigal son Thomas Richardson, who returns home [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content