Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
It is no doubt extremely difficult to produce a film which is respectful of a world-renowned and widely loved man, recently deceased, who was considered to be either a saint or well on the way to being one. This unusual biographical film is based on writings (published and unpublished) of Pope John XXIII (born in a peasant family as Angelo Roncalli), who in his short tenure in the papacy began the Second Vatican Council and attempted to reform and liberalize many doctrines of the church, including encouraging the unification of Christians and of all humanity. Every pope after him has been busily attempting to undo most of his liberalizing legacy. This film presents the innovator in his own words, through the device of a narrator (in English, this is Rod Steiger), as he recounts some of the experiences of his life, especially as an ambulance driver in World War II.
religion, chronicle, church, confession [criminal], diary, Italy, leader, peasant, Pope, priest