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The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)

Francesco, giullare di Dio (original title)
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 »
Reviews
2 nominations. 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Roberto Rossellini was one of a group of pioneering film makers of the neo-realist era. Rather than shooting on stage, they shot on locations and quite often used non professional actors. Most of the performers in the film, with exception of Aldo Fabrizi, are real Franciscian monks. See more »

Quotes

San Francesco: I command you, out of holy obedience, to spin around where you stand the way children do at play, and don't stop spinning until you're dizzy.
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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

Featured in The Image Book (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Te deum laudamus
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User Reviews

Priceless, Humbling Masterpiece
1 August 2003 | by KalamanSee all my reviews

This is one of the most beautiful and humbling pictures I have seen. I discovered it recently along with three other Rossellinis, "India Matre Bhumi", "Fear", and "L'Amore" - all masterworks. But so far based on the first viewing, "Francesco, giullare di Dio" ranks with my absolute favorite Rossellini pictures, "Europa '51" & "The Rise of Louis XIV". From the sublime opening long shot of Franciscans arriving in Assissi to the final unforgettable moment where they all spin and fall on the ground and Rossellini's circular camera connects the earth, sky, and water in perfect harmony, "Francesco" is an authentic, invigorating piece of art.

The photography itself is a masterpiece; It has a harsh, genuine beauty and splendour: the scenes at the beginning where Franciscans are soaked in rain, or at daytime when they kiss one another and preach and start a fire, or scenes in which Brother G is brutally beaten or tortured by a tyrant, or at night time when Francesco encounters and kisses a leper are all magnificently shot.

"Francesco" is told in a series of disconnected vignettes, each documenting different daily events and experiences of the Franciscans. The vignettes are preceded by an introductory title (e.g. "How Brother G Cut the Leg of a Pig for a Sick Brother", "How Francesco Met and Kissed a Leper", etc). Although it is explicitly a religious document of St. Francis and his followers set in a bygone era, the feelings and impressions that emanate from it are timeless and universal.

It is the sort of picture that makes you feel alive or buoyant about life and humanity. "Francesco" is one of my absolute favorite films, a truly humbling masterpiece from one of cinema's great film artists.


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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

6 October 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Flowers of St. Francis See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,223
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Cineriz, Rizzoli Film See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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