“There’s a generation now that’s graduating college, entering the workforce, that didn’t necessarily live through all these events with the fall of Communism. Perhaps they didn’t … have the chance to see Pope John Paul II in person.”
Like a real life super-hero movie, the 90-minute film focuses on the saint’s role as an integral part in the fall of communism in central and eastern Europe – except St. John Paul II did not use destructive weapons to take down some of the world’s toughest leaders.
Rather, he used prayer and solidarity to encourage those oppressed by communism in Poland to keep their hope and will alive.
According to Naglieri, this documentary is unlike any other John Paul II film.
“What helps separate our film from past works is that we looked at the entire span of central and eastern Europe and how his message not just impacted Poland, but other countries as well,” he said.
“And then we tried to connect it to the modern day and to see how John Paul’s legacy continues to impact those who are striving for freedom in Europe.”
The film reveals the events in St. John Paul II's life through a timeline, which helps show how God’s providence guided the saint his entire life.
The late Pope grew up in Krakow, and became its archbishop in 1964. The documentary explains how he returned to the city for nine days in 1979, the year after his election as Bishop of Rome, instead of his intended two.
An interview in the documentary with Dr. Norman Davies, a historian of Poland, explains how the government’s distribution of antennas during the 1980 Olympic games led to the spreading of St. John Paul II’s message behind the Iron Curtain.
The film even tells the story of how President Reagan and the Pope met six days before the president’s famous ‘tear down this wall’ speech in 1987.
Filled with striking stories and interviews such as these, the documentary shows who truly held the power during this difficult time in the world’s history.
Naglieri said the film was an 18-month project from beginning to end, and that “we traveled to Poland and other central European countries several times during the making of it. ”
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
The documentary features interviews with Reagan’s National Security Advisor from 1981-82, the Prime Minister of Poland, the Archbishop of Lviv, a former Director of the Holy See Press Office, as well as journalists, historians, authors, and professors.
Narrating the documentary is Jim Caviezel, who portrayed Christ in Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’. Joe Kraemer, known for his work on multiple ‘Mission Impossible’ movies, composed the documentary’s original music.
This article was originally published on CNA June 15, 2016.