A demon bestows on a self-righteous working photographer's camera the power to smite from the Earth "evil-doers". Naturally, the indignant photographer turns his new weapon on, one by one, ... See full summary »
Irene Wagner, the wife of prominent scientist Albert Wagner, finds herself blackmailed about her affair by her lover's jealous ex-girlfriend. The plot, an experiment in causing fear, drives her into a rage.
Paola, a Milan call girl, returns home to her village in an attempt to go straight. Rejected by her father, blackmailed by a former lover, and lusted after by her brother-in-law, she turns to her beloved sister for support.
The film dramatizes about a dozen vignettes from the life of St. Francis and his early followers - starting with their return in the rain to Rivotorlo from Rome when the Pope blessed their Rule and ending with their dispersal to preach. The unconnected chapters are like parables, some with a moral. The slight and comic Ginepro returns naked to St. Mary's of the Angels, having given away his tunic, but not his ricotta. The aged Giovanni shouts and holds onto his cape; the beatific St. Clair pays a visit. Humble Francis doubts his leadership, hugs a leper, and sends his brothers spinning, dizzy, and smiling into the world. This brotherhood is infused with whimsy as well as belief.Written by
Most religious films are somber affairs, made by religious men. So Francesco, giullare di Dio is an odd religious movie. It lacks any readings from scripture, or even any quotation. It's made by Rossellini, and the title means "Francis, Jester Of God." It's a long long way from here to Diary Of A Country Priest.
We've had St. Francis movies, of course. Most (in)famous is Zeffirelli's Brother Sun, Sister Moon: St. Francis as hippie. But this was the best. It was shot more or less on location, in the Italian countryside. It stars non-professionals (of course; Rossellini was a neo-realist). Fortunately, it stars a bunch of monks as...a bunch of monks following St. Francis.
In a brisk 75 minutes, Rossellini sketches a bunch of events: St. Francis meeting a leper, a cook learning why actions win souls, not words, etc. There's little music, and, oddly, not really much time spent with St. Francis himself. He's a side character; the thing of real interest is the daily lives and lessons of the monks.
At the end, Francis sends the monks off on their own to preach. They spin in circles, fall down, and wherever their head points, that's where they go. Religion is a journey, not an urgent reason to convert others. This supremely generous and uninsistent film is surely one of the best religious films ever made, full of nature and joy.
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