03/09/2004, 00.00
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A film about Matteo Ricci, bridge-builder between China and the West

Rome (AsiaNews) – A new Cecchi Gori full-length movie on the life of Matto Ricci will be directed by Pasquale Squitieri together with film expert and ethnologist, Folco Quilici.

In a month's time the film's writers will meet with scholars in Beijing who will work with them on the project under the guidance of the Chinese ministry of culture.    

The movie should be released in a year. Among the journalists who attended the press conference to introduce the project with producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori was the "People's Daly" Rome correspondent.  

With a budget less than 5 million euro, the film will not be a colossal project like "The Last Emperor", yet nor will it be a simple documentary, as Quilici pointed out.

The accurate historic reconstruction of the events of Ricci's life is backed by Jesuit Fr. Giovanni Marchesi's writings on the missionary. When asked if the movie would interest those curious about the Church's relation with Chinese authorities, the noted writer for "La Civiltà cattolica" said, "I am participating in the project as a scholar. I would not want them to make scenes about such important things that weren't they way they present them as being."

Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council on Culture, was inspired by the very "contemporary" character of Matteo Ricci who "became Chinese among the Chinese" when remarking on the importance of the meeting between Eastern and Western cultures in our globalized world.  

"We feel even more the need to re-experience that dream of friendship between the West and the Chinese people", the cardinal said. "This cannot be only of an economic nature, but must incorporate "even religious dialog" based on "shared values."

The cardinal recalled at length John Paul II's message delivered at an Oct. 24 2001 international conference to commemorate the 400 years since the arrival of the greatest missionary and scientist in Beijing, stating "the Holy See strongly hopes for a new period of dialog". (FF) 
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