New ‘In Viaggio’ film profiles Pope Francis’ world travels, available on streaming platforms March 31

March 22, 2023

A scene from “In Vaggio: The Travels of Pope Francis” shows Pope Francis looking out from a window from a helicopter during a papal visit. The new 80-minute film is expected to be available on most streaming platforms on March 31. (Photo by Vatican Media Archive/Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

HOUSTON (OSV News) — After a brief theatrical run in the U.S., a new film that profiles Pope Francis’s last decade of traveling the world as the pontiff of the Catholic Church will be available on most online streaming sites on March 31.

Titled “In Viaggio: The Travels of Pope Francis” (“En Route” in Italian), the film is directed by Gianfranco Rosi, an Italian-American documentary filmmaker who won the Venice Film Festival’s best film award, the Golden Lion, with his 2013 film, “Sacro GRA.”

The 82-minute film was screened at the 79th Venice Film Festival in Italy in 2022, but it was not in competition for the grand prize. Rosi also won the Golden Bear — the Berlin Film Festival’s best film award, with his 2016 film, “Fire at Sea.” For theater information and to view the trailer is available here.

Available in English, Spanish and Italian, the film chronicles nearly a decade of the pope’s globe-trotting, as recent as July 2022. Since his election 10 years ago in 2013, Pope Francis has traveled 60 countries during 40 trips abroad.

Drawing from roughly 500 hours of Vatican archival media and footage Rosi filmed himself, the movie follows the Argentinian pontiff on his first voyage outside of the Vatican, when the pope visited Lampedusa, Italy, where he mourned the deaths of migrants who drowned at sea.

Lampedusa was the focus of Rosi’s Academy Award-nominated 2016 documentary film, “Fire at Sea” (“Fuocammare” in Italian), which profiled the dangerous and often fatal boat travel from North Africa to Lampedusa, a coastal town in Italy. Pope Francis had seen the documentary ahead of his trip to the Italian coast.

“For Francis, travel is an intellectual and spiritual practice,” Rosi said in a statement. “Travel is where Francis the man becomes visible. Direct engagement with the people is clearly extremely important to him. You could say that his pontificate is a reverse pilgrimage, so rather than followers streaming from remote places to the Vatican, the pope himself travels to the people, meets them where they live and learns firsthand about their lives and woes.”

Rosi accompanied Pope Francis on his trips to Malta and Canada. These two trips, Rosi said, made him think differently about how he thought as a filmmaker.

“Traveling with Francis, being there in person, immediately engaged the way I think as a cameraman and a director, and a completely different sense of the trips emerged,” he also said.

Last year, Venice Film Festival Director Alberto Barbera told Italian news agency ANSA that “In Viaggio” was “an extraordinary film, an incredible piece of work” gleaned from hundreds of hours of footage.

“If we think we know everything about the pope’s travels, this film will make us think again,” he said.

Barbera said the film follows the pope to the island and the many nations he has visited and ties them together by highlighting common themes, such as poverty, nature, migration, war and solidarity.

“It is a kind of a Way of the Cross,” he said, in that “Francis gives witness to the suffering of the world and experiences the difficulty of doing something more, beyond the comfort of his words and presence.”

Rosi said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced the film to change its order. “Chronology became essential. Francis had always spoken forcefully against all war,” he said. “Now his warnings, and his analysis of the pattern of war, stood out.”

ANSA reported producer Donatella Palermo said Rosi, who was in Canada filming the pope’s latest trip there July 24 to 29, 2022, had planned to continue to add footage to the original film as the pope travels.

Rosi chose to do this documentary out of “the desire to tell the story of the emotion of seeing the world through the eyes of Francis,” Palermo said.