ROME (Reuters) - Italian film and opera director Franco Zeffirelli is offering his services to Pope Benedict as an image consultant, saying the German pontiff comes across as cold and needs to review his wardrobe.
Zeffirelli, acclaimed for movies such as "Romeo and Juliet" and "Jesus of Nazareth," said in an interview with la Stampa daily on Saturday the 80-year-old pope did not have "a happy image."
"Coming after a media-savvy pope like John Paul II is a difficult task ... Benedict XVI still communicates coldly, in a way that is not suited with what is happening around him," Zeffirelli said.
"It's an issue I have been discussing with people who have key roles in the Vatican," said Zeffirelli, who has directed some Vatican television events.
"The Pope does not smile much, but he is an intellectual. He has a very rigid Bavarian structure," he said.
Zeffirelli, 84, added that papal robes were "too sumptuous and flashy." "What is needed is the simplicity and sobriety seen in the other echelons of the Church," he said. ...
OK, I admire Zeffirelli as a filmmaker, and I think his intentions are good. And I think there is a grain of truth in this...just a grain...but I have to admit, Benedict's opinions-be-damned "authenticity" is one thing that appeals to me. You know who he is. Please, leave the image consultations for politicians.
HT: Ray at Stella Borealis.