Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 19 December 2011

'Habemus Papam'

Last night the Clever Boy went with a friend to see Habemus Papam/We have a Pope, a recent Italian film about the election of a Pope who between election and appearing on the balcony of St peter's to be acclaimed by the faithful suffers a catastrophic panic attack. The film is about his reaction, that of the Sacred College and the psychoanalyst brought in to help him.

The film uses archive footage and clever scene setting, and the actors look and act like a possible College of Cardinals - continental cinema does these things very well. It is described as a comedy - the publicity stresses this - but I cannot say it was bundle of laughs. There were some amusing bits of interplay between the Cardinals which were credible.

The problems seemed to be that here was an intersting idea, but it rather lost the plot - like the unfortunate Pope at the centre of the drama. This film is not The Shoes of the Fisherman, nor is is The Pope Must Die. A curious offering.

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