In a series of simple and joyous vignettes, director Roberto Rossellini and co-writer Federico Fellini lovingly convey the universal teachings#of humility, compassion, faith, and sacrifice#of the People#s Saint. Shot in a ... more »neorealist manner, with monks from the Nocere Inferiore monastery playing the roles of St. Francis and his disciples, The Flowers of St. Francis is a timeless and moving portrait of the search for spiritual enlightenment.« less
Hillarious b/w Entertainment with spirit and humour
A guy called | Frankfurt , Germany | 07/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Making a religious film in a neorealistic manner lead to this piece of art, where we meet St. Francis and his companions in a kind of ancient hippie-community. The poor fellows live a sort of outlaw-life in the countryside and get into conflicts with law, while trying to live a real life of praticed christianity. While the naive followers create a big mess in transferring their belief into everyday-survival-struggles without money, it needs the wisdom, good will and humour of Francis, who alsways find a spiritual solution to the problems that occur. Therefore the black and white film is divided into episodes that respresent the legends of Francis, who appears as a modern and practical thinking man and teaches us, that it is the humour and not the dogma, that creates real and worthy charity. Excellent film, do not expect any bigot cheesy fairy tales and speeches filmed in softlense."
The test of meekness or Matthew 5:5
Quilmiense | USA/Spain | 09/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Roberto Rossellini was moved by his concern with the cynicism and despair of postwar Europe. His Saint Francis offers an answer of old-fashioned simplicity and innocence to counteract the slyness and cunning of modern world (paraphrasing the booklet). It's an idealistic film. A film of vulnerable and unashamed idealism -like his monks-.
This film was doomed to be misunderstood, if not dismissed as retrograde in its values, or simply ignored. But Christian values don't cease to exist just because we don't see them practised on the silly box. The evidence is that Rossellini has put them in front of our modern eyes and they still make the same impression on us: they are the right -righteous- values. Times don't change, just as values don't change, only the will of the people to accept or deny them.
The question we face in this movie is: How do we apply these values of innocence, purity, unselfishness, meekness, and charity to modern times? Do they change with the times or do they mean the same as they did in the 13th century? Evidently it's us who have changed not the concepts. Why? Because watching this film Rossellini has made us identify with the Franciscan monks, with their unselfish love and innocence; he has made us see the world -even though a long gone world- with our present day eyes and we have -hopefully most of us- identified with them.
Why aren't there any more people like them today? I think there are. If only they would make movies about them. If at least we agree that those Christian values shown to us in the film are good, immutable and worthy to be pursued yesterday as much as today, we have a premise to work with. Then, the next step would be to conclude that pursuing those values are the right and laudable thing to do; at least to try to do. But on the contrary, we distance ourselves more and more from the ideal using all kinds of childish excuses: it's retrograde, old-fashioned, un-realistic and many other things.
That an ideal is hard to achieve does not make it inadequate. On the contrary, we should strive harder to pursue that ideal. Once -long time ago- it was easy to be poor, to walk barefoot in the mud or in the rain, to sleep on dirt floors in the open, to give everything you had to another person because you had so little that you could -God willing- get it back some time soon. And now, when we have so much, we give so little. How much love can we afford to give away once we've given it to our families, our most intimate friends and ourselves? Not much, the tip. How much stuff can we afford to give away once we have satisfied our lust, materialism and greed and that of our loved ones? Not much, the tip. However today we have much more than yesterday; shouldn't we be giving more too? This film leaves a sad impression of our drifting more and more away from our purpose driven lives.
It teaches by contrast. The message is as clear as Jesus' parables for those who want to understand them. If you laugh at it then you are the laughable. 'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.' "
Not necessarily entertainment but a deeply human experience
Dewey H | Washington, DC United States | 09/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Be sure and read Rossellini's intro before you watch the movie. I did not and stopped watching less than half way through the film. After finally reading his introduction, I found the film absorbing and satisfying. Rossellini's objective was, briefly, to bring St. Francis, his beliefs and his enviornment to us as he believes they really were without acceding to preconceptions. And he does it with his usual brillance. Finally, there is an interview with his daughter, Isabella, which is worth the price of the DVD. I expect this movie will be watched for hundreds of years."
The best Francis movie I have seen so far.
Nicholas Rokitka | Buffalo, NY | 08/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've watched a few films about St. Francis, and most of them have been about his upbringing and childhood. This film focuses on his life as the leader of his friars. The whole feel to the film is very lighthearted and is more a collection of short stories than a novel. I have received a Franciscan education and have several friars as friends, and I feel that this film represents the spirit of their life; a devoted life to God and helping other people."
An authentic portrayal
Francis J. Ambrosio | washington, d.c. | 11/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rossellini is an extraordinary director (for a good introduction to his work see M. Scorsese's, My Voyage to Italy) His treatment of St.Francis is unlike any other screen version I have seen, and in my view, irreplaceable.It is based on "I Fioretti" very early collection of stories that grew up among the first followers and is really more about the effect Francis had on them than it is a "biography" of the saint. It that way it is more like a "gospel," an excited, almost unbelievable, account of how he changed people's lives. It is not the place to go to get the basic facts, but if you want to get right to the "truth" of this person who changed western culture fundamentally, then this might well be the place to go. For a very effective contemporary retelling of some the Fioretti stories, try Murray Bodo's Tales of St. Francis.The film is also a great display of Rossellini's revolutionary cinematic realism. A real classic. Enjoy! P.S. after writing this I read the other reviews. They make clear the range of possible reaction both on the human level and the artistic. I don't have any quarrel with (almost) any of them. I would just say that there is a great deal going on here regarding both the person and film, so if you are just getting acquainted with either aspect, look around a bit before making up your mind for yourself."