Thursday, March 26, 2020

The young and the new Pope

The Young pope and The new pope are just different sessions of the same series, supposedly called The pope; but we have to say supposedly, because the link between this two shows is bizarre and subtle, not obvious. First, the aesthetic change from one to other like the day to the night, and even the texture of te script; but at some point, the writer comes to move this shows as a two parallel subtramas, that communicates one to the other.

So, it’s clearly a new kind of phenomena, that grows under the surface of the new media, with its own power and aesthetic. The differences are abysmal, from a more conventional approach on the first, and a crispy experimentation on the second; starting with the main drama, with the election of a new pope on the first series, unexpectedly American and young (John Paul II was handsome); and with an apparent more conventional election of a British aristocrat on the second, which end being a former punk and a kind of family junkie.

Let’s be clear here, but popes are a kind of family junkies, with a pass that burden their present life; truly in one case more than in the other, but both at the end. What is different here is the weight of that conflict on the general drama, through the strength of the characters; with a very strong and even rigid bishop as the young pope, and a very weak and inconsistent on the new pope. At the end, after a lot of paradoxes and plot's twits, you will see how the strength becomes weakness and vice versa; but even that is very subtle, without the vulgarity of a moral discourse, more like a wonder about life.

As elements to sustain the structure of both, some characters and the scenario of the Vatican and its relationship with the Italian politics; and in both cases, all the characters are superbly constructed and acted, with profusion of great names and production. The interesting part here is the script, and its difference from one the other, which is not only aesthetic but also relative to the plot; both valid and legitimates in their own and in their mutual interaction, but clearly distinguishable.

One of the main differences comes with the character of Sofia du Bois, as the marketing director for the Vatican; which in the second grow from a secondary to a main character, supporting one of the multiple subplots. But you can see the differences from the very start, with the credits, a work as superb as the others aspect of the production; but in this case directed to remark the difference of tone in both shows, from the subtle politic of the first to the psychedelic drama of life in the second.

This element of psychedelic texture is also a very dramatic tool, for the writer to set the general atmosphere of the subplots; with a profuse use —not abusive— of color and nudity, more remarkable with its display of not so young but undoubtedly beauty of bodies and sex. In general, The new pope is a very experimental approach to cinematography, compared to The young pope; it uses a lot of symbolic elements, not only visual but even in whole characters, stringing the diapason of dramaturgy.

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The series closes all its stories but leaving a lot of questions without an answer; and the script even play with that paradox, as if its own purpose were to question all certainty about everything. The series is good by its own in all its aspects, but also shows itself as a new way of narrative, with its own possibilities; not without flaws, of course, but flaws that could be risky moves. more that mistakes. About all, no body with special attachments to Catholicism should see this shows, because they are not suit for emotional comfort or religious sentiment; they rely just on the discomfort of reality, and about all exploits the contrast between the harmony of liturgy and the sharpness of political manipulations, and is great at that.

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