The Young Pope on Sky

The Young Pope Sky Italia Caravaggio opening credits
Caravaggio's Conversion of Saul painting is ion the right

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m a proud SKY Italia subscriber, and I have a new TV show obsession: The Young Pope, written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino (the mastermind behind The Great Beauty/La Grande Bellezza, one of my favorite movies of all time) and starring Jude Law and Diane Keaton.

So, The Young Pope airs on Friday nights and what I so appreciate is that Sky shows two consecutive new episodes at a time, so it only takes five weeks to get through the entire series instead of ten.  Jude Law plays the controversial Pius XIII, a wickedly handsome, 47 year-old American pope. Anyone who knows his or her papal history knows his name recalls the controversial Nazi-supporting Pope. The college of cardinals elected Pius XIII because they thought he was a spring chicken who could be their puppet, but boy were they ever wrong.

Now, I’m no TV critic, but I think the show is ingenious and showcases Sorrentino’s surreal Fellini-esque style, and Jude Law is just terrifyingly brilliant. At times, I’m convinced he’s a sociopath and other times I’m like, “Wait, he has feelings. He must just have a serious case of narcissism.” The lighting is beautiful…Law often radiates a white halo like glow.  The wide-brim hats and sharp style recall Fellini’s Eight-and-a-Half/Otto e Mezzo and Juliet of the Spirits/Giulietta degli Spiriti, the latter of which is my favorite from the late and great Federico.  The stunning scenery will make you want to get to Rome stat.

The Young Pope
That mischievous wink

Even though the show is airing here in Italy, it’s mostly in English, so it’s not helpful to my Italian. Cardinal Vioello, portrayed by Silvio Orlando (who looks so different in real life!), speaks with such a thick Neapolitan accent when conversing with some of his other mother tongue peers, that I can’t grasp a word so it’s for this reason I keep the Italian subtitles on as I watch. The show is surreal, dark, funny, clever and overall, a winning ingenious combination. Sorrentino and team are apparently at work on season two and I can’t wait for more.The Young Pope is coming to HBO in January, which means that Homeland fans will have two great shows at their disposal come 2017.

The too-perfect opening sequence features Devlin’s Watchtower and is made even better by a Caravaggio painting cameo. I really hope Jude Law wins an Emmy.

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