The film begins with Montini as a young priest appointed to the Vatican under Pope Pius XI. He would serve as Secretary of State and Archbishop of Milan before being elected Pope by a reportedly unanimous decision. He was the first Pope to travel in over 100 years, visiting every populated continent on earth; he took on the Second Vatican Council midway and saw its completion; he lived through fascism, war, reconstruction, civil unrest and tenaciously upheld the truth through it all, whether it was accepted or not.
Costa used real news footage to punctuate the historical elements of his aptly shot film, as highlights to the more important elements of the story. They could have been woven in slightly better, but overall it worked. Costa remained as accurate as he could to history. Nothing was sugar coated in this film. Paul VI's positions were not always popular, particularly after issuing the two encyclicals which ultimately defined his papacy: Populorum Progressio and Humanae Vitae. Through the human stories, though, we can begin to see the incredible burden the Holy Father must bear, at unbelievable personal costs.
There is plenty in this film on which to chew. I'm definitely a subtitle girl, and am glad that this film wasn't overdubbed, as it would have altered the brilliant performances. If you're not used to subtitles, or if you've never watched a film with subtitles, this is a good film with which to start. Additional features include a 16-page booklet and a documentary on Pope Paul VI. Overall, "Paul VI: The Pope in the Tempest" is a film that every Catholic should see.
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