(AGI) Rome, Feb 9 – The world premiere of “Shades of Truth”, a film-inquiry on the life of Pope Pius XII, is to be held on March 2, in the Vatican. It is based on witnesses and hundreds of documents.
The film states he was not “Hitler’s Pope” but a sort of “Schindler of the Vatican” who saved 800,000 Jews. The film was written and directed by Liana Marabini and will be released in Italy in April. The director told AGI: “This has involved a considerable amount of work. I studied all I could find on the subject. The research was lengthy and it was not easy to cover in a 90-minute film the content of almost 100,000 pages I read, and tell it all in a simple and accessible manner. But it was worth it. It is an independent film, entirely self-financed. Pius XII is one person of the 20th century who has never been understood.
This film is my act of devotion for a great pontiff and a priest whom I admired, and is a great moral example for me.” The film poster shows the Pope with a Star of David sewn on his gown. “This [the image] is a dream that the main character of the film (David Wall) has towards the end of the course of his redemption, at the end of a news enquiry for the magazine he was writing for. It is a strong image. You should have seen the emotion on the faces of the crew members as we were shooting the scene … it was amazing. Hence, I thought it could become the symbolic image of the film essential and eloquent.” The historic character of Pius XII and his silence during the Nazi persecutions have been debated for years. Today, historians agree that Pope Pacelli was not at all Hitler’s accomplice. Yet, there is still much ignorance and resistance. “I believe that only imbeciles do not change their mind, not even before proofs. There is evidence in Pope Pius XII story. Just think of the extraordinary work carried out by the Holocaust historian, Sir Martin Gilbert, who died last Tuesday, whose writings have much inspired me. He had the courage of not being aligned with the trivial common opinions that considered Pope Pius XII ‘Hitler’s Pope’. Sir Gilbert, a Jew himself, accurately proved that it was false.
I hope, with my film, to make those people change their minds on this great pontiff. A film, of course, lasts 90 minutes during which it is difficult to describe a life lived in such crucial times, but I hope I have been successful. I am personally very happy with the result.” (AGI).