Jovial moment in the Vatican as Oscar-winning comic Roberto Benigni meets Pope Francis

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VATICAN CITY  (Reuters) – Oscar-winning Italian comic and actor Roberto Benigni brought a bit of his trademark whacky levity to the Vatican on Wednesday, hamming it up for Pope Francis.

Benigni had a private meeting with the pope before his weekly general audience and there were laughs all around.

When Benigni cracked that the pope was “lucent … emanating light”, the pope responded, “Don’t exaggerate!”

Benigni repiled, “I have to exaggerate, I’m happy to be here”.

The comedian met the pontiff to give him a set of DVDs of his new show on the life of St. Francis of Assisi, titled “Francis, the Canticle”, which is being streamed on the Paramount Plus service.

Besides his comic works, Benigni, whose film “Life is Beautiful” won three Oscars in 1999, has also done shows on Italian epic poet Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.

A handout picture provided by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis receiving in audience Italian filmmaker and actor Roberto Benigni, in Vatican City, 07 December 2022. EPA-EFE/VATICAN MEDIA

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