Vatican City, a movie about the birth of Jesus Christ has made its word premiere at the Vatican, the first a feature firm debuted here.

Some 7,000 people showed up on the screening of The Nativity story in Paul VI Hall, the auditorium regularly used for audiences with pilgrims, although Pope Benedict XVI was not present.

The Nativity Story, which opens in the US and Italy lat week, describes Mary’s pregnancy and the trip she and Joseph make to Bethlehem. It explores Mary’s reaction – of fear, doubt and ultimately faith – to what is happening to her.

Before the screening, Archbishop John Foley, a US prelate who heads the Vatican’s social communications office, welcomed the full house and said dialogue between faith and culture could contribute to comprehension among peoples.

The film stars as Mary, Australian-born Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Isaac as Joseph. Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, stars as Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin. Director Catherine Hardwicke’s previous works include Lords of Dogtown and Thirteen.

The film was shot between Morocco and Matera, a town in south Italy where Mel Gibson shot The Passion of the Christ. (AP)

The View of Vatican City