The Young Pope: The Second Coming of Brideshead Revisited?

Cosmos The In Lost | 2/15/2017 | Guest Contributor
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(Pius XIII in The Young Pope, Source: HBO show website, Fair Use).

In many ways, The Young Pope is the second coming of Brideshead Revisited.

Place - Millionaire - Bear - Pope - Kangaroo

In the place of a millionaire with a teddy bear, we have a Pope with a pet kangaroo. Charles Ryder drinks champagne every afternoon; Lenny Belardo downs a Cherry Coke Zero every morning. The stately spires of Oxford have given way to the sumptuous splendor of Rome. And Papa Belardo can be as savagely witty as Waugh himself.

Brideshead accomplished two things. First, it demonstrated the capacity of television as a medium for serious art—and particularly for Catholic art. Secondly, it reinvigorated a certain kind of youthful, conservative Christianity. The Young Pope has done much the same for our own time. In its day, Brideshead was remarkable for the lush, artistic way it treated a story steeped in the Catholic faith. The Young Pope is the first series for the small screen since 1981 to do just that.

Young - Pope - Aesthetics - Sorrentino - Materiality

I have written elsewhere about The Young Pope’s unique visual and aural aesthetics. Sorrentino explores the luscious materiality of Catholicism through rich costumes, painstakingly re-created sets, and lavish rituals. He elicits top-notch performances from his cast, from Jude Law’s tour de force as Pope Pius XIII to Javier Cámara’s quietly melancholic Cardinal Gutierrez to Guy Boyd’s alternately fragile and threatening Archbishop Kurtwell. The story bristles with surreal images, often shot in soft-focus. The kangaroo lopes between darkened hedges. A bed dangles in mid-air. Nude FEMEN protesters silently materialize in the Vatican gardens, spelling out the word “****” across their bare breasts; seeing this, the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Cosmos The In Lost
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