Movie Review: The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)


Title: The Flowers of St. Francis
Release Date: 14 December 1950
Director: Roberto Rossellini
Production Company: Joseph Burstyn Inc.
Summary/Review: I saw this movie at Brattle Theater many years ago in a tribute to Roberto Rossellini (it was preceded by Isabella Rossellini and Guy Maddin’s odd tribute film My Dad is 100 Years Old).  It was my first Rossellini movie and probably my first Italian neorealist movie too.  I remember being touched by the depiction of the simple faith of Francis of Assisi and his followers in medieval Italy.

The movie features actual Franciscan brothers playing the roles instead of professional actors.  It’s broken up into several chapters or vignettes each with a different moral lesson.  This movie is less dogmatically religious as some viewers may fear, but instead focuses on the whimsy of Francis who was known as “God’s Jester.”  It’s a beautifully filmed and touching movie that I think I like even more upon revisiting.
Rating: ****1/2