Written by Jess Wilton
Italy, 1950. 75 min. Rizzoli Film and Cineriz.
Cast: Brother Nazario Gerardi, Arabella Lemaitre, Aldo Fabrizi; Music: Enrico Buondonno, Renzo Rossellini; Cinematography: Otello Martelli; Produced by: Giuseppe Amato; Written by: Roberto Rossellini, Frederico Fellini, Father Antonio Lisandrini, Father Felix Morlion; Directed by: Roberto Rossellini
The Flowers of St. Francis (1950) initially doesnâ€™t seem to fit in with Rosselliniâ€™s best-known films. Set in the Italian countryside of the thirteenth century, it details the exploits of a dozen or so medieval monks rather than a handful of war-weary contemporary Europeans, and at first glance, there doesnâ€™t appear to be much at stake, or much direction to the narrative. St. Francis himself doesnâ€™t even eat up much screen time, nor does he drive the relaxed, whimsical stories adapted by Rossellini and Frederico Fellini from â€œThe Little Flowers of St. Francis,â€ a collection of stories written in the 14th century about the jocular saint and his followers. All in all, itâ€™s a far cry from films like Rome, Open City, that deal with the problems of post-WWII Italy.