Pope Joan

Synopsis: German village Igelheim's backward priest hopes his sons to succeed him after education in the bishop's cathedral school, but the elder succumbs to disease and the youngest lacks any intellectual drive. Traveling teacher Aesculapius arranges for the inquisitive daughter Johanna to be enrolled too, against their father's wishes. Unfit for the boys-only dorm, she gets to stay with count Gerold, incurring his wife's due jealousy. She's to be dismissed, but survives a Viking pillaging slaughter and assumes brother Johannes's identity to join a monastery, where she becomes the infirmary's trainee. Fleeing exposure as female, she arrives in Rome. As a protégée of rivals in the viper nest-like papal court, she ends up elected as pope, but carries count Gerold's baby, guaranteeing exposure.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Sönke Wortmann
Production: Constantin Film Verleih
  4 wins & 6 nominations.
149 min


His Eminence, Arnaldo,

Bishop of Paris.


everything is prepared.

Take all the time you need.

When you're satisfied,

we will gladly bind it for you.

Thank you.

How could it had been otherwise...

that a woman had once occupied

the Papal Throne...

was a disgrace to the Church.

Of course, Johanna was not mentioned

in the Chronicle of the Popes.

But was there truly to be no trace

of her existence?

Was she to be banished

from history altogether?

A woman

who had accomplished so much?

The first day of Johanna's life

was the last of Charlemagne's.

They called him "the Great" but in

the eastern part of the Frankish Empire,

in former Germania, people had

terrible memories of the emperor...

and his soldiers, who fought the heathen

faith for years with flame and sword.

But now, people had enough difficulty

just surviving the winter.

- What're you doing, woman?

- This will ease her pain.

The word of our Lord:

"In sorrow shall thou

bring forth children".

Then I need your help.

We don't have much time.

That's women's work,

- lowly and unclean.

- Then your wife will die.

That rests in God's hand,

not mine.

It will be difficult raising two boys

without their mother.

What do you want me to do?

Sit behind her...

support her back.

Now take this cloth.

Pull to one side!

Push! Oh my goodness.

It's a girl. Healthy and strong,

by the look of her.

A girl!

She will be named Johanna.

Five years later

Johanna was a gifted child,

and she had a clear mind.

Her hunger for knowledge

was insatiable.

In spite of her youth, she had an

innate wisdom way beyond her years.

- Do you know its name?

- Marigold.

And what does it do?

Helps us when we have a stomachache

or when we cut ourselves.

Very good, little quail.

You learn quickly.

So father will teach me too?

We should get dinner ready.

Right away!

No. Beneficium. Do you know the difference

is not between a "b" and a "d"?

Keep trying Johannes.

Father will be back soon.

I cannot do it.

- What does it say?

- The psalm "Confitebor".

Confitebor tibi Domine

in toto corde meo

mirabo omnia mirabilia tua.

- Where did you...

- I've been listening.

I want to read Psalms too... and write.

Will you teach me?

I cannot do that, little sister.

- Why not?

- Father would never allow it.

Why not?

Because it is forbidden for girls.

It would be blasphemy.

And because girls cannot learn

to read and write, just like mother.

And just like you.

Please Matthew.

I won't tell.

You are a wonder, little sister.

And you know what you just wrote?

Lord, thy grace reaches

as far as the heaven,

and my truth

as far as the cloud.

St. Catherine would be

very proud of you.

Who's that?

She lived centuries ago in Alexandria.

Even though she was a woman,

and still quite young,

she was learned and wise.

Tell me more about her!

Catherine was a king's daughter.

Among the pagan Romans,

she dared to become a Christian.

How far you know, Johannes?

Why the heathen chose to

not convert to Christianity?

They must, or they'll all be killed!

Only you should give them the time

to make up their mind.

Where were we?

- Sword?

- Rumpia.

- Heart?

- Cor.

- Knowledge?

- Scientia.

- Holy Bush?

- Even you don't know!

Ah... Help!

Tell me that story again,

of our origin.

Although he was already very wise,

Odin always sought more knowledge...

So, he came

to the well of wisdom.

But the giant Mimir, guardian

of the well, told Odin:

"Wisdom is always born with pain"...

Please don't stop.

In return for a drink from the well,

Mimir demanded one of Odin's eyes.

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Heinrich Hadding

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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