Pope John Paul II (miniseries)
|This article does not cite any references (sources). (April 2013)|
|Pope John Paul II|
|Written by||John Kent Harrison|
|Directed by||John Kent Harrison|
|Running time||200 min (2 parts)|
|Original release||4 & 7 December 2005 (USA)|
The miniseries was written and directed by John Kent Harrison and aired in the United States on the CBS network on 4 and 7 December 2005. It was first released in Vatican City on 17 November 2005 and ten days later throughout Italy.
Jon Voight portrays the older Karol Wojtyla (after his investiture as Pope in 1978), while Cary Elwes portrays Wojtyla in his earlier life from 1939 to 1978. Voight was nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance.
Pope John Paul II co-stars James Cromwell, as Archbishop Adam Stefan Sapieha, Ben Gazzara, as Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, and Christopher Lee as Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński. Polish actor Mikolaj Grabowski is seen twice playing Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, who would succeed John Paul II as Pope Benedict XVI on 19 April 2005.
Part 1: (4 December 2005)
The miniseries opens in 1981 with the Pope John Paul II assassination attempt, then flashes back to the young Karol "Lolek" Wojtyla who survives World War II by working in Kraków's Zakrzowek quarry and Solvay's chemical plant while secretly embracing the illicit Theatre of Poland to keep Polish culture alive. Wojtyla accepts a calling to study for the priesthood and joins an underground seminary, involving himself in the Polish Resistance movement. In 1945, the war ends with the Soviet occupation and eventual Communist takeover of Poland. In 1946, Wojtyla is ordained a priest while the Communists hunt down and eliminate anybody with any ties to the Home Army and/or Polish government in exile during the war and start laying plans for building Nowa Huta as their new churchless "city without God". Wojtyla travels to Rome for his graduate studies and returns to Poland in 1948 for his first pastoral assignment in Niegowic. In 1949, he is transferred St. Florian's church in Krakow, where he also is a counselor to students at Jagiellonian University. Sapieha dies in 1951. In 1956, Wojtyla is appointed ethics professor at the Catholic University of Lublin. In 1958, the Holy See appoints him Kraków's auxiliary bishop—Poland's youngest bishop ever and in 1959, ends the decade by holding Nowa Huta's first Mass outdoors on Christmas Eve in the Communists' newly completed "city without God".
After leading an unusual procession of the Black Madonna's empty picture frame through Krakow, Wojtyla attends all four Vatican II sessions, where he impresses many influential foreign cardinals with his charisma, multilingualism and viewpoints, both before and during his term as Kraków's archbishop. After becoming a cardinal in 1967 by Pope Paul VI, Wojtyla returns to Poland as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, and miraculously cures a bone marrow cancer victim by praying to Padre Pio. Pope Paul VI dies in 1978 and Papal conclave, August 1978 convenes, electing Albino Cardinal Luciani as Pope John Paul I, who himself dies only 33 days later. The cardinals then reconvene with Papal conclave, October 1978 and Wojtyla is told by Wyszynski to accept the position if he is elected—for Poland's sake.
Part 2: (7 December 2005)
Opening on October 16, 1978 with deadlocked balloting, Wojtyla wins the papal election as the first non-Italian pope since Adrian VI in 1522, naming himself John Paul II. In his Papal inauguration speech, he says "be not afraid", causing Soviet leaders to decide that Wojtyla is "no friend of Marxism". Afterwards, in 1979, he performs papal mediation in the Beagle conflict between Argentina and Chile, receives Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko at the Vatican, writes his first papal encyclical—Redemptor hominis—and visits Mexico as one of his earlier foreign papal trips-where he is seen by millions-for that year's Latin American Episcopal Conference in Puebla. He then makes his first papal visit to Poland with audiences also in the millions and afterwards to the United States. He supports Polish Solidarity and receives Lech Walesa at the Vatican. The 1981 assassination attempt occurs. After his recovery, Pope John Paul II appoints Cardinal Ratzinger Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, after which he is visited by U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1982 and in December 1983, visits his failed assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca inside Rebibbia prison to personally forgive him. In December 1984, he appoints Joaquin Navarro-Valls director of the Holy See Press Office, announces World Youth Day in 1985 and witnesses the downfall of East bloc Communism in 1989.
During the 1990s, Pope John Paul II fails to stop the Invasion of Kuwait and its following Gulf War. He responds to the abortion debate with his Letter to Women encyclical. His book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, becomes a best-seller. Later that decade, he suffers from increasing symptoms of Parkinson's Disease but keeps a busy schedule. In response to his own suffering, he writes his Evangelium Vitae encyclical as opposition to a worldwide culture of death and keeps trying to improve Christian–Jewish reconciliation and Holy See–Israel relations. In 2000, he starts the third millennium by apologizing for the Church's sins committed during its history, watches the 9-11 attacks in 2001 with horror and in 2002, addresses American cardinals about the "appalling" Catholic sex abuse scandal. His last Easter and last public appearance is shown in late March, 2005, then his death is announced on April 2, 2005, with a voice-over of his last requests and a montage of earlier events amid the closing credits and main film score.
- Jon Voight as Pope John Paul II
- Cary Elwes as Young Karol Wojtyła
- Ben Gazzara as Cardinal Agostino Casaroli
- Christopher Lee as Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński
- Vittoria Belvedere as Eva
- James Cromwell as Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha
- Daniele Pecci as Roman
- Ettore Bassi as Gapa
- Chiara Conti as Anna
- Valeria Cavalli as Teresa
- Marcin Kuzminski as Mikal
- Giulietta Revel as Halina
- Robert Gonera as Tadeusz
- Krzysztof Pieczynski as Czerny
- Christopher Good as Cardinal Franz König
- Fabrizio Bucci as Krysztof Zachuta
- Giuliano Gemma as Dr. Joaquín Navarro-Valls
- Wenanty Nosul as Stanisław Dziwisz
- Jan Niklas as Young Dziwisz
- Harald Posch as Hans Frank
- Mikolaj Grabowski as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
- Jacek Lenartowicz as Lech Wałęsa
- Massimiliano Ubaldi as Mehmet Ali Ağca
- Andrzej Blumenfeld as Edward Gierek
- Giacomo Piperno as Cardinal Felici
- Paolo Paolini as Cardinal Jean-Marie Villot
- Nicola Pistoia as Cardinal Maximilien de Fürstenberg
- Giulio Base as Papst Pope Paul VI
- Zygmunt Jozetczak as Bischop Eugeniusz Baziak
- Michele Gammino as Leonid Brezhnev
- Pope John Paul II Official Site
- Pope John Paul II DVD Ignatius Press Website
- Pope John Paul II at the Internet Movie Database