The renowned documentarian Gianfranco Pannone turns his camera on “the smallest army in the world”: the Pontifical Swiss Guard, a centuries-old military unit comprised of young Swiss soldiers who are stationed at the Vatican and tasked with guarding the Pope. The film follows Leo and René as they bid farewell to their families in Switzerland and embark on the first months of their assignment in Rome. Under Pannone’s inquisitive and sensitive gaze, the young men are fitted for customary striped uniforms, train in the drills and procedures of the Guard, practice their Italian-language skills, and contemplate the cultural and personal significance of participating in a religious and military tradition that has been sustained over hundreds of years in the Church’s history. Leo, René, and their fellow guardsmen are compelling and endearing subjects, and the documentary doubles as a joyous love letter to the sights and sounds of the ancient city.

Screening with:

Viva Ingrid!
Alessandro Rossellini, Italy, 2015, 20m
English, Italian, and French with English subtitles
This charming ode to the late Ingrid Bergman tells the story of her time spent in Italy, beginning with the production of her first film with Roberto Rossellini (the director’s grandfather), and ending with the couple’s separation eight years later—narrated via a collage of home movies, interviews, newsreel footage, and scenes from her films. North American Premiere