14/03/2018

Leone XIII - World/Film History; A Tiny Slice

Quick Thoughts: Leone XIII (1896)


Made by Vittorio Calcina, this film is representative of Holy See.


Before I choose a film for the World Cinema Series, I usually make sure I know where the country is and will look up a little bit of its history. Today I looked down the list of countries and came to Holy See. I'd not seen or heard about this country before looking at my list - I certainly didn't know where it was and what its history was. So, off to Google I went. Holy See is in Italy...


Otherwise known as See of Rome, Holy See is described as an ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church. It is also a sovereign entity. And it is either in Vatican City, or apart of it, or holds it, or... a head scratch didn't help my confusion. After a bit more confused reading and Googling, I found and watched a video. I still am not too sure what Holy See is, but this video does help...


As you would have picked up on, Holy See is connected to the church. And as you may expect, there aren't going to be any superhero blockbusters or even any student horror films coming from this tiny place. Holy See has seen the production of a very small handful of movies - all of them depicting the church, bishops and pope, either in basic portrait or via a day-in-the-life documentary. What we'll take a look at today is an amalgamation of 3 short films from way back in 1896 that were shot by a Lumière camera operators, and captures Leone XIII.

Pope Leone XIII is regarded as one of the few popes who saw significant change in the church by being open to scholarship and invested in social issues of the times. He is also the first pope who would have ever appeared on film. It is said that he agreed to being photographed in his garden so that he could have shown the world that he was healthy. By this time he would have been deep into his 80s, but would still live on for more than 5 years as pope. As a small slice of world and film history, I hope you find this of interest:


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