updated 3/31/2006 7:56:02 AM ET 2006-03-31T12:56:02

Pope Benedict XVI watched a film Thursday about the pontificate of his predecessor, remembering the Polish-born pope as “the unforgettable John Paul II.”

The made-for-TV movie “Karol, A Pope Who Remained Man,” was shown to Benedict in a Vatican auditorium. Benedict said he was left “petrified, as if we were present” when watching the reconstruction of the 1981 attempt on John Paul’s life by a Turkish gunman in St. Peter’s Square.

Benedict said the screening — three days before the first anniversary of his predecessor’s death — brought to life “the phases of the pontificate of the unforgettable John Paul II” and reminded him of John Paul’s “vibrant words to condemn the oppression of totalitarian regimes, murderous violence and war.”

The film tells the story of John Paul’s pontificate from his election in 1978, through his globe-trotting ministry, to the protracted suffering of his last days in 2005.

The 30-year-old Polish actor Piotr Adamczyk, who played John Paul, told reporters the role was particularly demanding “because it was not about preparation, but faith.”

The movie follows “Karol, A Man Who Became Pope,” the story of John Paul’s earlier days, which aired on Italian television a year ago. The new film will be shown in Italy in May.

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