"The New Pope", Sorrentino and Venice

a moment. The mother superior sends them to bed immediately. But the young nuns, having discharged the cap that protects their hair from sight and inserted a white heel, invade the space of the Refectory of the Cini foundation, transforming themselves into cubists on the notes of Good Time Girl by Sofi Tukker. Behind them, the imposing copy of the Cana wedding by Paolo Veronese, stolen by Napoleon in the Venice count in 1797. They are the headlines, dazzling, of The New Pope, the Sky Original series created and directed by Paolo Sorrentino and written together with Umberto Contarello and Stefano Bises from Padua, which from Friday will be aired exclusively for Italy on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV. As in Sorrentino's previous television project, The Young Pope, in which Jude Law played the role of the fascinating but fragile American Pope Pius XIII, also in this new chapter of the saga of the Sorrentine Papacy, Venice has a fundamental role in the series. It was Sorrentino himself who anticipated it, a few years ago, and from the Lido Film Festival, that the importance of the city would not end with some scenes. And this new chapter of the saga proves it from the first scenes. With the nuns dancing in the refectory designed at the end of the 16th century by Andrea Palladio with Paolo Veronese, who painted The wedding at Cana just to "open" the back wall.

The nuns in the refectory of the Cini foundation (photo Gianni Fiorito)
The nuns in the refectory of the Cini foundation (photo Gianni Fiorito)

The Cini foundation

Curious but certainly not accidental, that the scene takes place right at the Cini Foundation, where in the 800, in what was then the monastic complex of San Giorgio Maggiore, a conclave was held to elect Pius VII, since Rome was occupied by troops Napoleonic. The same ones that then took away Veronese's painting. Sorrentino's Venice not only for San Giorgio, on the contrary. Never like this time his passion for the lagoon expands and embraces Piazza San Marco and the Procuratie, the scene of a night walk that is ideally connected to the Madalina Ghenea fashion show in Youth; it embraces the Grand Canal and the shining ermine sported by Pope John Paul III – John Malkovich – while visiting his predecessor who lies unconscious at the San Giovanni e Paolo hospital. And still embraces with his gaze Palazzo Don dalle Rose in Fondamente Nuove, a seventeenth-century palace that still belongs to the family that had it erected, and which in Sorrentino's eyes is the backdrop to a story shrouded in mystery, not only of faith. Then there are nighttime visits in disguise aboard motorboats that crawl through the canals and romantic escapes covered by darkness that end on the steps of Salute. And again – in one of the key episodes of the series, in which Jude Law awakens – an Excelsior beach on the Lido dazzling for the light and beauty of the girls who almost faint when they see Law in costume.


But in the new, impressive production (The Apartment-Wildside) – the result of 22 weeks of shooting, where 4,500 costumes, 450 caps and hats and more than 500 crosses will parade, over 9 thousand between protagonists and figurations and actors from 65 countries – not there will only be Venice. In addition to Rome, where the Papacy has been rebuilt down to the smallest detail, to Abruzzo, where a greenhouse has been rebuilt, and to England, where the cardinals go to hunt down the new Pope, there will be a trip to Lourdes shot for on the Piave and a skiing among iron crosses turned on the mountains of Cortina. Venice where the Pope wakes up – concludes the scenographer, Ludovica Ferrario – decadent, sinister, capable of miracles, deliberately in contrast with a classic but above all gloomy England.

January 9, 2020 (change January 9, 2020 | 15:47)