Martin Scorsese meets Pope Francis and announces film about Jesus
Martin Scorsese, known for his devoutness, met with Pope Francis over the weekend, on a post-Cannes tour of Italy. The veteran filmmaker also announced that he will be making a film about Jesus.
“I have responded to the Pope’s appeal to artists in the only way I know how: by imagining and writing a screenplay for a film about Jesus,” Scorsese announced on Saturday during a Rome conference at the Vatican, according to multiple reports. “And I’m about to start making it,” the director added, suggesting that this could be his next film.
Also on Saturday, Scorsese and his wife Helen Morris had a brief private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican before attending the conference, which was headlined "The Global Aesthetics of the Catholic Imagination."
La Civiltà Cattolica, a journal published by the Jesuits, and Georgetown University organised the conference. The editor of the religious magazine, Antonio Spadaro, stated on the website of the publication that during their talk at the conference, Scorsese alternated between references to his films and personal tales and revealed "How the Holy Father's appeal 'to let us see Jesus' moved him," among other things.
Regarding film references, Scorsese mentioned throughout the discussion how much he admired "The Gospel According to St. Matthew" by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Additionally, Scorsese discussed "The Last Temptation of Christ," his own 1988 epic, and "Silence," his 2016 drama on the persecution of Jesuit Christians in 17th-century Japan, which he described as "the subsequent step in his research on the figure of Jesus." The Vatican held a screening of that movie in 2016. Francis, the first Jesuit pope, reportedly entered the Jesuit order with the intention of serving as a missionary in Japan.
Scorsese's Italian tour also involves a series of screenings of his films, paired with works that have inspired his body of work, that he will present on Monday at Rome's Casa del Cinema cinematheque; a master class on Tuesday for students of Rome's Centro Sperimentale film school; and an onstage conversation on Friday in Bologna where he will be a guest of the Cineteca di Bologna, the film archives that run the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival dedicated to heritage film.