New Argentine documentary examines Pope Francis through extensive archive material and interviews with family and friends. Rough Cut (No reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: A new documentary that focuses on the life of Pope Francis will be released in cinemas in his homeland, Argentina, on Thursday (March 5). The film brings together some of the leader's nearest and dearest, giving viewers an intimate view of the public figure. In "Francis of Buenos Aires", director Miguel Rodriguez Arias collates anecdotes about Jorge Bergoglio told by his only living sister, Maria Elena, and Cardinal Jorge Mejia, one of the Pope's closest friends. Amongst tens of thousands of video tapes collected in Arias's studio in Buenos Aires is the only classified archive of all Bergoglio's speeches and sermons delivered since 1998 when he was made Archbishop, according to the AFP news agency. For Arias, this archive proved a treasure chest for the hour-long documentary focusing on a figure presented as seeking a world of "greater honesty" and "less hypocrisy". He characterizes the pope as "a priest who is interested in social issues. Family issues. Who is interested in divorcees coming to the church, that doesn't reject gay people; everything he was doing when he was called to be the pope he was already doing as the archbishop of Buenos Aires and Cardinal Primate of Argentina," Arias told Reuters in his studio. He added that the pope brings together three traits. "A great intellectual, who is very skillful at handling politics and on top of that, he has street smarts. This means you are looking at a man on par with (Nelson) Mandela, a (Mahatma) Gandhi, a (Martin) Luther King (Jr.). This is what I think. I think we are looking at a man of that magnitude," he said. The Argentine-Italian co-production was declared a work cultural interest by the Italian Ministry of Culture, and has been featured in film festivals in Havana, Toronto, Popolo and Religliono in Italy. The most controversial topic tackled by the film is Bergoglio's involvement in the Argentine military dictatorship of 1976 - 1983, for which he was criticized by some sectors as having acted passively or even having collaborated. The film, which incorporates music by the group Vox Dei, is the first of its medium to focus on the life of Pope Francis. It is slated to also be rolled out in limited release in Chile and Italy later this year.