In the first nine years of his pontificate, Pope Francis made 37 trips visiting 53 countries, focusing on his most important issues: poverty, migration, the environment, solidarity and war. Intrigued by the fact that two of Francis’s trips – the first to the refugees landing in Lampedusa; the second in 2021 to the Middle East – so closely mirrored the itineraries of his films Fuocoammare (Fire At Sea, 2016) and Notturno (2020), Rosi follows the Pope’s Stations of the Cross. He sees what he sees, hears what he says and creates a dialogue between archival footage of Francis’ travels, images taken by Rosi himself, recent history and the state of the world today.

Director’s Biography

Gianfranco Rosi, born in Asmara, Eritrea, graduates from The New York University Film School. In India, he makes Boatman, about a boatman on the Ganges, presented at Sundance, Locarno and Toronto. In California he shoots Below Sea Level, about a community of homeless people, and wins the Orizzonti award at the Venice Film Festival. The next film is El Sicario ‐ Room 164, about a killer for Mexican cartels, which wins the Fipresci Prize at the Venice Film Festival. With Sacro Gra for the first time a documentary wins the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. With Fuocoammare he wins the Golden Bear in Berlin, the European Film Academy award and other international prizes, and is nominated for an Oscar. Notturno, shot in the Middle East, in competition at the Venice Film Festival, is shortlisted for the Oscars.

Selected Director’s Filmography

2022 In Viaggio

2020 Notturno

2016 Fire at Sea

2013 Sacro Gra

2012 Tanti futuri possibili

2010 El Sicario – Room

2008 Below Sea Level

2001 Afterwords

1993 Boatman

Director’s Note

Travel has been a central motif for me, ever since Boatman. Whether simply constant movement or a particular trajectory, travel provides their basic narrative structure. Circling the ring road around Rome in Sacro GRA, the deadly boat travel from North Africa to Lampedusa in Fuocammare, or in El Sicario the narco hitman retracing, and reenacting, the killings he carried out. 

I first met Pope Francis after he saw Fuocammare and visited Lampedusa. We spoke briefly in the Vatican about the problem of forced migration, which was already a crucial issue for him. But I had no idea about the extent of his travels until I was interviewed for Notturno by the Vatican newspaper, the Osservatore Romano.

For Francis, travel is an intellectual and spiritual practice. The idea of this pope constantly in motion, circling the globe, fascinated me. I asked to see some of the footage from his trips and ended up with a sea of about 500 hours of material. Would it be possible to turn this sea of rough neutral reportage into a compelling portrait of this man? We were constantly rearranging, adding and cutting, feeling for a coherent sequence regardless of place or chronology or theme. Like chipping away at a block of stone to find the figure within.

The invasion of Ukraine changed our approach and forced the material into a different order. Chronology became essential. Francis had always spoken forcefully against all war. Now his warnings, and his analysis of the pattern of war, stood out. 

Travel is where Francis the man becomes visible. Direct engagement with the people is clearly extremely important to him. You could say that his pontificate is a reverse pilgrimage, so rather than followers streaming from remote places to the Vatican, the pope himself travels to the people, meets them where they live and learns firsthand about their lives and woes. 

I feel fortunate that I had the chance to accompany the Pope on two trips to Malta and Canada before finishing the film. Travelling with Francis, being there in person, immediately engaged theway I think as a cameraman and a director, and a completely different sense of the trips emerged. It forcefully made me aware that just like the Pope’s journeys, In Viaggio is necessarily inconstant evolution, and I tried to embed that concept as we included the material I shot. Anysense of closure would have gone against the evolutionary nature of the film, its orientation towards whatever comes next, the continuation of the process of encountering, learning, understanding. This open-endedness is the very essence of In Viaggio.

Main Crew

Scriptwriter and director: Gianfranco Rosi
Executive Producer: Donatella Palermo
Editor: Fabrizio Federico

Technical Details

Original title: In viaggio

International title: In viaggio

Duration: 82 min

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Format: 2K

Sound: 5.1

Year: 2022

Original language: Italian, Spanish, English

Country of production: Italy

Production Companies: 21Uno Film, Stemal Entertainment with Rai Cinema

International Press

Claudia Tomassini
International Film Publicity

US Press

Cinetic Media
Ryan Werner and Emilie Spiegel