As befits a pope of the digital age, there are plenty of opportunities to see the pontiff online, both in his own words and others’.
Today, in a piece called “The Francis Effect Hits Netflix,” Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Website takes a look at three short documentaries streaming right now on the subscription service: “The Rise of Hope” (English), “The Pope From the End of the World” (Spanish) and “A Pope for Everyone” (Spanish, click here for a preview). English subtitles are available.
The article (click here for the whole thing) offers capsule reviews, with mixed results. Here’s a sampling …
On “The Rise of Hope”:
[The film] is well-crafted and in-depth look at Francis’ years in Argentina, including an interview with one of his sisters. But early on, it frames Francis as an agent of social justice divorced from the dictates of orthodoxy.
On “The Pope From the End of the World”:
[It] sets off almost instantly on the wrong foot, offering a hyperpolitical reading of Benedict’s resignation and Francis’ early years in Buenos Aires. The scattered clips and melodramatic soundtrack land us in a hodgepodge of hysteria around the Jesuits and prophecies of Malachy and Nostradamus, giving the impression that Francis is, at best, a cunning political strategist, and at worst, a harbinger of the end times.
But, regarding “A Pope for Everyone”:
[The film] soars far above the other two documentaries and should be the go-to choice. … the documentary never loses sight of the fact that Francis is impelled by, and thinks with, the Church’s teachings, liturgy and sacraments. When Bergoglio “takes flesh” in the suffering of his people (as the narrator puts it), he faces earthly issues in and through a keen awareness of spiritual reality, reflecting the sacramental logic of Catholicism.
Oddly, although the Word on Fire piece uses “The Francis Effect” in the title, it doesn’t mention the actual documentary by that name, produced by Salt and Light TV.
Here’s how it’s described at Amazon Prime, where it’s available for streaming with an Amazon Prime membership.
The Francis Effect takes a critical and in-depth look at how an ancient institution is rapidly changing under the leadership and vision of Pope Francis, and exclusive interviews with prominent Catholics and non-Catholics reveal that Francis is having a profound effect on the world as well.
But you don’t have to sign up to watch all long-form pieces featuring the pope.
Hulu offers NBC News’ coverage of his full address to a joint meeting of Congress, last September in Washington D.C. It launches with an ad and then can be streamed without a Hulu subscription. Click here for that. After it’s over, Hulu also offers other NBC News clips of the pontiff’s Apostolic Visit to the United States. There are also ABC News clips available.
The full film has been posted on YouTube as well, strangely under the category of “Autos & Vehicles,” which means the KofC could realize it’s there one of the days, and it may go away. In the meantime, click here.
Image: Wikimedia Commons