Home1-2526-5051-100101-50151-200201-250251-300
-
THE FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS
1950 - Roberto Rossellini
Italy
92
Opening Shot

Over the opening titles a voice is heard saying a prayer and then the film begins with a text passage from Corinthians 2:27. We are shown a long shot of a group of men walking toward the camera down a road. It is raining very hard. A voice over narrator informs us this is Francesco and his companions returning from Rome.

The Film

One of the greatest aspects of The Flowers of St. Francis is the unforced rhythm, and pace at which it is made. The narrative is presented in vignettes with chapters of St Francis and his disciples in an search for inner peace. Shot almost completely outdoors the film moves with an effortless flow. The cast is entirely non-professional actors, in fact they are monks from the Nocere Inferiore monastery. The film is directed by Roberto Rossellini, who stands as one of the key innovators in the groundbreaking Italian neorealist era. Rossellini developed the story and co-wrote the film with several collaborators including Federico Fellini, who also co-directed his debut feature film that same year (Variety Lights). Told with compassion and simplicity The Flowers of St. Francis emerges as a universal and timeless tribute of humanity, kindness, friendship and faith. With a graceful touch, the film observes the beauty of humanities connection with nature and with spirituality. By celebrating the joys and disappointments of life The Flowers of St. Francis is a masterpiece tribute of universal faith. The film also marks a slight departure for Rossellini, who's groundbreaking war-based realist films of the 1940s redefined the very language of cinema. Here the subject of war is transformed into spirituality. It is an remarkable achievement of simplicity and perhaps Roberto Rossellini’s greatest film. "Spread throughout the world and preach peace. Farewell."

The Filmmaker

Roberto Rossellini is very often credited as being the leader of the 'Italian Realist Movement' during the 1940s. His 1945 film Open City (which was shot as the Nazi's began moving out of Rome) captured attention throughout the world and over time has been regarded as the definitive start of the neo-realist era (even if it was not the very first film). Open City won Best Director honors at the Cannes Film Festival and also earned a Best Screenplay nomination at the Academy Awards (one of the films co-writers was Federico Fellini, who collaborated on many of his films prior to becoming a director in 1950). Rossellini's work during the 1940s captured the essence of the Italian cinema era, with low-budget production, on-location shooting, non-professional actors and a documentary-like style to portray the poverty, and the human struggle for freedom of Post War Italy. Rossellini completed his "War Trilogy" with Germany Year Zero in 1947. Rossellini then met Hollywood star Ingrid Bergman (who wrote him a letter requesting to work with him). Together they made Stromboli in 1949 and during filming fell in love and eventually married and had three children. The affair caused a huge scandal in Hollywood, which Bergman abandon along with her husband. Rossellini and Bergman eventually married and had three children (one of whom is actress Isabella Rossellini) and also made a total of six films together. Among them was Rossellini's greatest work and the start of his departure from Neorealism (which sort of began in 1950 with his greatest film The Flowers of St. Francis) with 1953's Voyage in Italy. Rossellini divorced Bergman (who was eventually excepted back into Hollywood) after having an affair with a screenwriter in 1957. Rossellini stands as one of the most important filmmakers in the history of Italian cinema.

Images
Zoom in
Zoom in
Zoom in
Zoom in
Zoom in
Resources
trailer (youtube)      
-