Shading light into the life of Pope Pius XII
The new film Shades of Truth written and directed by Italian Liana Marabini, was projected in avant-premiere in Monaco on Monday, May 11, 2015, at the cultural space Scripta Manent, in the presence of Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke Patron of the Order of Malta, Monegasque, Italian and French personalities and a large public. The official presentation took place at the Catholic Institute Maria Bambina in the Vatican on March 2, 2015, the day marking both the anniversary of the birth of Eugenio Pacelli in 1876 and of his appointment as pope Pius XII in 1939. There will be five additional screenings during this year Cannes Film Festival, May 13-19. There are plans to be screened in September in Philadelphia, USA, during the Catholic World Meeting of Families to be attended by Pope Francis.
Pope Pius XII is a divisive figure
Cardinal Patronus underlined that finally thanks to Liana Marabini, a film has been able to restitute the truth about Pope Pius XII, “…discreet by nature, but a true shepherd, and apolitical.” According to the cardinal, Pope Pacelli had been unfairly condemned by History, because under Facism, he really saved the lives of hundred thousands Jews. Touched by the cardinal’s manifestation, Liana Marabini exchanged some words with the journalists to whom she explained how she got the idea to produce this film, after 5 years of research and studies. “He is the most misunderstood character of the 20th century. He suffered from being wrongly accused of silence and inaction, when on the contrary, it was due to the direct or indirect intervention, by himself or the catholic church, under his authority, that so many Jews were saved.” On the other side of the spectrum historian Marcello Pezzetti told the Italian daily Courier Della Sera, that: “No True historian in the world would support such a statement.”
According to Marabini, the film has been inspired by the events and those who lived through them, as testimony the numerous documents stored in private collections, libraries and secret Archives of the Vatican, accessible to the public. For the director, the truth she portrays in the movie is the only one, and there are no others. As it can be seen on the poster of the film, on the cassock of the Pope there is a David star. This message, strong and clear, has been decrypted by Liana Marabini: “The Cross and the Star of David are two symbols of a martyr. Those two religions (Jewish and Catholic), that emerge one from the other, need more than ever to be united. And what better than the Papal robe for them to reunite?” But this fictional representation may be offensive to many.
Liana Marabini added: “I am very happy of the work accomplished. All the actors, without any exception, have accepted with joy to play their roles because they are fascinated by the history, but over and above by the figure of the Pope, badly known up to present, and anyway profoundly human and fair.” The main role is played by American actor David Wall, as David Vilano, an Italo-American journalist of Jewish origin, investigating the involvement of the Pope during the war. Gideon Burkhard interprets the Catholic priest Robert Savinelli, and Christopher Lambert plays Cardinal Salvemini, who postulates the cause of beatification of Pius XII.
“Do you expect a change of opinion after this film?” Marabini has no doubts about that: “I think that it will change the heart of those who judged Pius XII in a superficial way, without being properly informed and documented. I hope that, with the prays of each of us, the day will come where the Sovereign Pontific will be beatified. For that we hope for a miracle will soon happen. It is natural to ask ourselves if saving a great number of people from a horrible death, isn’t already a miracle.”
Pope Pius XII is a divisive figure, described by some historians as “Hitler’s pope,” and by others as “the Schindler of the Vatican.” Liana Marabini, who is a fervent Catholic, was quoted saying: “I can’t prevent people from arguing. The freedom of expressing different ideas, for or against a belief, is sacrosant. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. I would be satisfied and I would thank God if even one single person could see the truth [about Pius XII] thanks to my film.”