Rome the eternal city, Rome the capital of Christendom, Rome the apostolic… Much more than Protestantism from Washington or orthodoxy from Moscow, Catholicism cannot be dissociated from Rome. What does this connection represent in a time where Europe is often described as « dechristianized »? Contrary to popular opinion, the film intends to penetrate the very sentiment of being catholic and to show the new vitality of a bimillenial faith.
The film draws a comparison between the institution of the Vatican on one side, and the « ordinary » Roman Church on the other in order to underline the many different aspects of contemporary Catholicism.
In the Vatican, beyond its universal symbols and its inescapable authority, the enquiry takes place in the company of cardinals and prelates who act as a guide for the specta-tor and embody, each one in his favourite domain, the main assets and defects of the contemporary Church : the position of lay persons within the church, science, doctrine, diplomacy, ecumenicalism, its evolution on other continents, morality etc. The images place each character in their own environment and show day-to-day life in the word’s only theocratic state.
In Rome we meet a variety of different people, such as the Vicar General of Rome, a “ homeless” American Franciscan monk, the priest of an ordinary parish, one of the leading members of Opus Dei, the founder of Sant’ Edgidio, a nun who lives with the fairground people of Luna Park, a film director and a sociologist. We watch the big annual procession in the quarter of Trastevere dedicated to the Virgin Mary, pilgrims climbing the steps of la Santa Scalla on their knees, the charismatic revival, the Le-gionnaires of Christ, without neglecting everyday Rome, ancient, baroque, modern and eternal Rome.
The film switches between these two extremely different worlds. The interaction of its characters and situations intends to demonstrate the many different facets of Catholi-cism without concealing its contradictions, by allowing those to speak, who day by day, at all levels of hierarchy make it live and change.
« Un documentaire riche, qui met en évidence les multiples visages du catholicisme, la recherche de la foi, sans pourtant en ignorer ses contradictions. »
Télé 7 jours
« Un volet très pertinent, agrémenté de témoignages bien choisis et de somptueuses vues de la ville éternelle. »