LOS ANGELES • Pope Francis is heading to the big screen to talk about life, the universe and everything in a rare Vatican-backed theatrical documentary.
Written and directed by three-time Oscar nominee Wim Wenders, Pope Francis - A Man Of His Word opens in the United States on May 18, Focus Features said.
In the documentary, an almost unheard-of co-production with the Vatican and outside film-makers, the pope addresses the audience directly, discussing immigration, ecology, wealth inequality and the role of the family.
"The film's direct-to-camera visual and narrative concepts engage the audience face-to-face with the pope, creating a dialogue between him and the world," a spokesman said.
"Taking questions from people of all walks of life, Pope Francis responds to farmers and workers, refugees, children and the elderly, prison inmates and those who live in favelas and migrant camps."
The film shows the 81-year-old pontiff travelling the world, with footage of him speaking at the United Nations, addressing the US Congress and at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem.
He speaks to prisoners and refugees, and is shown visiting the Palestinian territories, Israel, Africa, South America and Asia.
"Pope Francis is a living example of a man who stands for what he says," Wenders said when the project was announced last year.
The film will also have a global release.