7.5/10
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Francesco, giullare di Dio (1950)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 6 October 1952 (USA)
A series of vignettes depicting the lives of the original Franciscan monks, including their leader and the bumbling Ginepro.

Director:

Roberto Rossellini

Writers:

Roberto Rossellini (story), Federico Fellini (screenplay collaborator) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Aldo Fabrizi ... Nicolaio, il tiranno di Viterbo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gianfranco Bellini Gianfranco Bellini ... Narrator (voice)
Peparuolo Peparuolo ... Giovanni il Sempliciotto
Severino Pisacane Severino Pisacane ... Fra' Ginapro (as Fra' Severino Pisacane)
Roberto Sorrentino Roberto Sorrentino
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Movie for Today...And All Time


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

6 October 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Francisco, juglar de Dios See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cineriz,Rizzoli Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Selected by the Vatican in the "religion" category of its list of 45 "great films." See more »

Quotes

San Francesco: It's better to preach by example than by words.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The US version released in 1952 removes the Italian chapter titles. It also adds a prologue cut from the initial Italian release. See more »

Connections

Version of Francesco (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Te deum laudamus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A bit episodic but still quite lovely.
4 August 2013 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"The Flowers of St. Francis" is a very unusual film. Instead of telling the life of St. Francis of Assisi in any traditional sense, the film is made up of several parables about him and his followers--stories that are most likely fictional. They are all meant to illustrate various lessons--such as humility, service and kindness. This makes the plot very episodic and somewhat disjoint. The film is also unusual, at least when seen today, because almost all the people in the film are non-actors. However, at the time, the Italian Neo-Realist movement (led by the likes of Rossellini and De Sica) stressed the extensive use of non-actors in natural settings--mostly because the country was bankrupt following WWII and had little other choice! But, what sets this apart is that the monks in the film are actually real monks! That is pretty amazing.

My enjoyment of this film was impaired, somewhat, by my having seen a recent documentary, "My Voyage to Italy". In it, Martin Scorsese discusses many of his favorite films. However, instead of just explaining what he likes in them or how they influenced him as a director, Scorsese goes on to explain the plots as well as the endings of many of these films! So, because he provided so many spoilers for "The Flowers of St. Francis", I didn't get nearly as much out of the film as I might have.

So is it worth your seeing it? Of course. The biggest reason is that these non-actors gave some amazing performances and the film is very artistic. It also is far less heavy-handed than most religious films. While I still would have preferred seeing the life story of St. Francis, I still did appreciate the work that went into making this lovely film. Additionally, its message of spirituality over religiosity is timeless and inspiring.


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