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'Francisco Manso: Films must spotlight respect for life & human rights to foster understanding & empathy
"Respect for life and human rights are very important and I make movies addressing these issues because it is important for people as well as governments, not to repeat the errors of the past." Thus spake Francisco Manso, director of ‘The Consul of Bordeaux’ the 42nd IFFI's opening film which played to full houses at repeat screenings.
On April 28, 1935, Cardinal Pacelli ( the future Pope Pius XII) told pilgrims in Lourdes, France, that the Nazis “are in reality only miserable plagiarists who dress up old errors with new tinsel. It does not make any difference whether they flock to the banners of social revolution, whether they are guided by a false concept of the world and of life, or whether they are possessed by the superstition of a race and blood cult.” As Pope during the war, he spoke out in defense of the Jews. When the Vatican paper L’Osservatore Romano protested the internment of Jews and the confiscation of their property, the Fascist press would call L'OR,‘a mouthpiece of the Jews.’
After the Nazis overran Italy, the Pope ordered religious houses including monasteries and cloistered convents which forbid entry to all but a few to hide Jews.At least 7,000 Jews were hidden in approx 180 churches, basilicas,and parishes.Some Jews were sheltered in Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence, in private homes, and in hospitals.
Stationed in 1940 in the port city in southwest France, Sousa Mendes saved 30,000 people, among them, 10,000 Jews, from the Nazis. His moral courage inspired Manso who has produced and directed various films for cinema and television in Portugal to helm the biopic.
According to some estimates at least one million refugees fled from the Nazis through Portugal during World War II.
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