Nanni Moretti (The Son’s Room, Caro Diario) joins forces with the great French actor Michel Piccoli (Contempt, Belle de Jour) to tell the story of Melville, a cardinal who suddenly finds himself elected as the next Pope. Never the front runner and completely caught off guard, he panics as he’s about to be presented to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square and refuses.
While the world nervously awaits the new pope, behind the scenes all is frantic. Keeping a lid on the crisis, the Vatican spokesman (Jerzy Stuhr) imports an unlikely atheist psychiatrist, played by Moretti, to try to overcome Melville’s worries, but without success. The reluctant Pope escapes the Vatican in street clothes and wanders around Rome. “I’m an actor,” he replies, when asked his profession. As the Vatican officials frantically search for him, the sequestered cardinals pass the time playing a volleyball tournament arranged by the bored psychiatrist. As in his earlier films, Moretti makes wonderful use of humor while treating serious issues with insight and deep humanism. (Fully subtitled)