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Erik Van Looy
The life of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) as related by followers who gather after his death to tell stories so that Leone can record them: a privileged and virile youth, a prisoner of war, an heir who turns away from his father and gives all to the poor, a beggar for others, and an inspiration to friends who accept the Gospels' life of poverty. He seeks the Pope's blessing, and he endures persecution at the hands of the family of Chiara Offreduccio (1194-1253), who becomes St. Clare. Many join the order he has established and then rebel at his expectations. In near despair - and ill - he writes a Rule to take to the Pope; then, the Lord sends him a message. He dies smiling. Written by
I'd seen the Zefirelli version of St. Francis, and in contrast, I have to say this presented a somewhat different perspective -more realistic if anything. Not knowing much about Mickey Rourke, I was pleasantly surprised. Of course he had a modern hair cut throughout, and his tatoos could be seen in some scenes. . . .but when put to the test he passed in my estimation. His training at the Strasberg School paid off. In the beginning he was a little stiff, but as the film developed, so did his character, and the emotional scenes were very believable. Condensing the life of St. Francis of Assisi into a 2 hr. film is a challenge, but I think the important events were covered including his early life as a man of the world, his life-altering crisis of finding God, the creation of the little band of followers and the conflicts, the stigmata, etc. And, OK, Mickey Rourke has gorgeous eyes!!!
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