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The Independent Critic

Jim Caviezel (Narrator), George Weigel, Norman Davies, Carl Anderson, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. Richard Allen
David Naglieri
93 Mins.
Presented nationally by WTTW Chicago; Distributed by National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA)

 "Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism" 
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Bringing to life one of history's greatest examples of the triumph of spiritual power over violence and oppression, writer/director David Naglieri's informative and insightful documentary Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism kicked off a year of nationwide screenings on public television on June 3rd.

The film is narrated by Jim Caviezel, perhaps most known to American audiences for his performance as Jesus Christ in Passion of the Christ. Composer Joe Kraemer (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Jack Reacher) composes the film's original music and infuses that score with a sense of the awesomeness possessed within the story of the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years when Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II in 1978. What Liberating a Continent most beautifully captures is the role that John Paul played in all that led up to the collapse of communism and what is referred to as the liberation of Central and Eastern Europe.

Naglieri offers a wealth of insights and information from religious and societal leaders including papal biographer George Weigel, Polish historian Norman Davies, Pontifical John Paul II Institute Vice President Carl Anderson, John Paul's lifelong assistant Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Reagan National Security Advisor Richard Allen and a host of others. Eloquently and passionately, the film captures a low-key yet inspiring look at what many might have considered to be impossible including the downfall of one of history's most brutal regimes.

Liberating a Continent has already had quite the festival run prior to its television debut including screenings at Worldfest Houston, Los Angeles Cinefest, International Christian Film Festival, Great Lakes Christian Film Festival, Mexico International Film Festival and quite a few others including multiple prizes along the way.

Caviezel, an acknowledged Catholic, brings an authenticity and passion to his narration while not allowing his personality to dominate the awesomeness of the story itself. The same is very much true for Kraemer's original music.

The emphasis here, appropriately so, is on the extraordinary impact of Pope John Paul II in creating a global impact of peace and dignity for all human beings. Naglieri constructs the story with intricacy and discipline, perhaps knowing there would be naysayers yet having the conviction to build what seems to be undeniable truths. The end result is a film that both entertains and inspires, informs and challenges.

For more information on Liberating a Continent, visit the film's website linked to in the credits.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic