Following the death of the Pope, the Conclave meets to elect his successor. A cardinal is chosen who seems unable to bear the weight of such a responsibility. Is it anxiety? Is it depression? Does he feel inadequate? The world is on tenterhooks as the faithful and the Church are kept in suspense.
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It constantly flirts with the kind of plot set-ups that could have fueled a dozen vapid crowd pleasers, but instead the film chooses not to bring a single thing to any conclusion. Even the ending is another open story left hanging. This creates an intentional existential malaise, but never at the cost of its sweet humanist center. It's not a satire, it's not even that funny, but there is a delightful truth here.
Quel balcone vuoto, con le tende rosse che sbattono invano... i pensieri dei cardinali in conclave "non io, non io" ... la solitudine del card. Melville per le strade ostili di Roma... profondo e struggente