Why the Popes? - Religion Trends in Film

In an age where it is the fashion to question everything, trust no one, and unquestionably doubt the intentions of organized religion, people are continually fascinated by the ideas of power, corruption, and scandal within the realm of the church. Specifically, in this discussion, the Catholic church. 

Netflix and HBO both released two trailers around the same time, for a dramatic series and comedy-drama film, both centering around different popes. The New Pope, the dramatic series, is a continuation of a 2016 series called the young pope. The original series focused on the rise of Pope Pius XIII, a fictionalized pope, whose radically conservative views land him in hot water with other cardinals and foreign dignitaries. The new series offers little on its content but promises to be a continuation of the other series, which was praised for its authentic if slightly dramatized look at the inner workings of the Catholic church and for actually filming in Rome. The New Pope stars Jude Law and John Malkovich. Be forewarned that the teaser for this is confusing. It features conflicting shots of John Malkovich and Jude Law. John Malkovich as the new pope walking through the Vatican and shots of Jude Law, walking along the beach in his underwear surrounded by women as he winks at the camera. In many ways promising an epic showdown between two very conflicting views. 

The Two Popes, the biographical comedy-drama, centers around Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, known today as Pope Francis. The film's upcoming film will follow the journey to the new age of Pope Francis. Contrasting the conservative, traditional mindset of Pope Benedict with the radical liberal views of the future Pope Francis. The Two Popes stars veteran actors Anthony Hopkins and Jonathon Pryce. 

Why the sudden interest? Why now? There is so much to explore simply in the dichotomy of the two projects coming out around the same time. Film and television mirror the subconscious of the dominant culture. Does this mean that there is a growing interest in religion? The more I learn about the world and about the beliefs of other people, the more I learn that there are few true atheists in the world. I believe that there is a true desire to hope and understand that there is something greater. There is also a growing desire to critique the human nature that sullies the perception of that higher power with greed, corruption, and hate. With every new film and series that centers around understanding more about religion and the people that are a part of it, I feel a growing sense of hopefulness and purpose. Purpose in that God can use the media we create to bring others to him. 

So watch the trailers for the film and series about the Popes. Watch the series when they come out. What message are you hearing?

By Mya Anderson