Thursday, March 27, 2014


NYTRome Priests heard confessions Friday in the Circus Maximus in Rome where people had gathered to watch the funeral of Pope John Paul II, broadcast on a giant videoscreen.

Look at the expressions on the faces of the woman and the priest in the foreground: at the informality of their relationship; at his clothing and unshaven face; at the seating arrangement, in the open air; at the figures in the background repeating the action but on the ground, and talking even more as equals. It's so well done I have a hard time thinking it wasn't staged entirely with actors. It's the most beautiful -meaning complex- modern use of Catholic iconography I've seen in a long time, though I haven't seen anything by Almodovar recently. In Hail Mary Godard described the Annunciation as a jet plane flying over a basketball court and managed to have the film condemned by the Pope and win the best Catholic film of the year in Germany.

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