'Pope Francis' arrives at Cannes Film Festival, reveals anger ab - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

'Pope Francis' arrives at Cannes Film Festival, reveals anger about sexual abuse crisis

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Pope Francis waves to thousands of followers as he arrives at the Manila Cathedral on January 16, 2015 in Manila, Philippines. Pope Francis waves to thousands of followers as he arrives at the Manila Cathedral on January 16, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.

The pope came to the Croisette.

Not in person, but thanks to Wim Wenders’ new documentary, Pope Francis — A Man of His Word, the Vatican had a big presence at Cannes Film Festival.

Just prior to Sunday’s premiere, USA TODAY sat down with Wenders, the legendary German director who won the Palme d’Or in 1984 for Paris, Texas, starring Harry Dean Stanton.

Wenders, who was raised Catholic, says he identifies today as an ecumenical Christian. When the Vatican approached him with the idea of making a film about the populist pope, they were unbothered by his beliefs. "They said, 'That is of no concern to us. We like the way you make movies and we didn’t ask you because we thought you were Catholic.' "

They were more interested about his ideas around doing a film on the pope. Wenders would have to fund it and find distribution, the Vatican said, but in return they’d open their archives and make time available with the pope.

Wenders, a three-time Oscar nominee (The Salt of the Earth, Pina, Buena Vista Social Club), was in, with one stipulation. “I told them, 'Don’t expect me to make a film for Catholics.' And they said, 'Yes exactly. The pope speaks to all sorts of people in the world. And his message is of peace between religions. You don’t have to make a Catholic film for us.' ”

And so, five years after Pope Francis ascended to the papacy, what A Man of His Word does is convey the pontiff’s message directly. In the documentary, the globally popular pope (though viewed by critics as too politically liberal), speaks directly to the camera in his native Spanish, sharing his views on issues like tolerance between religions, the refugee crisis, climate change and embracing the LGBTQ community.

The director spent four afternoons with the pope, and it was only when the Catholic Church’s ongoing child sex abuse crisis was broached that Wenders saw him truly angry.

“Each time, this was the most agitated and the most furious he got, and you realized it was something that tormented him so much," says Wenders. "He really got very adamant: 'Tolerencia cero.' ‘Zero tolerance’ was really from the heart. It was the angriest thing he said in the entire interview.”

Just last month, the pope apologized for defending accused Chilean priests during a trip made to the country in January, saying he had been misinformed. In the film, Francis states that he supports legal action against priests involved in pedophilia.

There was only one request Wenders put forth that made the Vatican nervous.

“I said I wanted to shoot at least once with him outside in nature,” he says. “The first answer was no, and I think it was strictly for security. ... Finally, I realized in order to do so, I had to find a place inside the walls of the Vatican that was a garden, and we found one.”

The director says proximity to the pope didn't necessarily make him more religious. “I really hope that the film speaks to all sorts of Christians and non-Christians,” he says.

But working with the pope, he added, "filled me with hope that religion could be taken more seriously again in many parts of the world as something open and as something helping humanity forward."

Pope Francis — A Man of His Word arrives Friday in select theaters (80 cities, including Los Angeles, Denver, Washington, Orlando, Atlanta, New Orleans, Boston, Las Vegas, New York, Philadelphia, Memphis, Dallas and Salt Lake City).

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