A beautiful little documentary from director Gianfranco Pannone.
Was it because I’m Catholic, or because I love Rome, or because Gianfranco Pannone has so skillfully and sweetly told the story of young men in today’s Vatican Swiss Guards that I have so much affection for this wonderful documentary, premiered at Venice 72?
Probably all of the above, with the addition of the appeal of the protagonists, exemplary young men who have just arrived at Vatican City for their training, sincere and ready to work hard (plus they just seemed like nice guys).
The Swiss Guards, Italian Guardia Svizzera, are the Swiss soldiers responsible for the safety of the pope, the guys you see in the colorful old timey outfits guarding the doors at the Vatican. Often called “the world’s smallest army,” their role has gone from actual soldiers, to a more ceremonial role, and these days, back to actual bodyguards, particularly after the attempt to assasinate John Paul II.
Pannone has obviously taken the old adage “show, don’t tell” to heart, because he truly lets us into the Vatican, and into these young men’s lives. It’s fascinating, watching them learn Italian and everything else they need to know, and getting to know each other. I’d watch a L’Esercito Piu Piccolo Del Mondo, the sequel; I want to know more!
This could be a great TV reality show, Gianfranco! I’d much rather watch the lives of these sweet guys than the Kardashians!