The Flowers of St. Francis - Roberto Rossellini

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Re: The Flowers of St. Francis - Roberto Rossellini

Postby wpqx » Sun Mar 19, 2006 3:33 am

Well I watched the film today, and I have mixed feelings about, as I do with almost every Rossellini film. It was hard for me to tell at first whether this story was taking itself seriously or not. You must always take Fellini with a grain of salt, and wondered if religious subject matter would be something to poke fun at, a little like it was in The Miracle. I'm not a very religious man so films that do take religion seriously are usually under scrutiny from me. This film was uneven at parts, a little short, and failed to really convey any powerful message one way or the other. Some of it was comical, most notably seeing people use a monk to jump rope, that moment had to have been Fellini. The rest seemed rather pointless. The film does have it's own context, but is still not among Rossellini's best.

btw I had the same complaint about Scorsese's two documentaries on film, both showed too many pivitol scenes, and not enough commentary.

Re: The Flowers of St. Francis - Roberto Rossellini

Postby trevor826 » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:44 pm

Howard Schumann's review re: the Criterion dvd - Link

Cheers Trev.

Re: The Flowers of St. Francis - Roberto Rossellini

Postby jcdavies » Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:04 am

What a marvellous unpretentious little film it is. The perfect antidote to Hollywood excess and i'm so glad it's free in today's Independent (in the UK), which i get anyway. I can now see it in a whole new light; when i saw it, a long time ago now, i was much less impressed. It just shows how a film's soul is more important than technique; wit than size of budget or ego. The acting is certainly amateurish, the scenes in which the monks sing are faintly ludicrous (some may say laughable), what with the consistently poor dubbing/lip synching etc. Such things matter not a jot. The film loves nature as befits the subject, but never in a grandiose way. What a marvellous little scene with the goldfinch. There's no Bressonian mannerism, no phoney, self-important attempts at angst and meaningful soul-searching, or pompous austerity + self-righteous sermonising; instead, unexpected humour (love that bristling ogre in armour nonplussed by the simple monk who's just been tossed around) and a gentle spirit.

It strikes me as somehow influential on Rohmer's Perceval le Gallois, another medieval film, even though that of course is its opposite in terms of artificial sets compared with Rossellini's fine locations.

There are a couple of scenes with buildings that may hint towards Voyage to Italy and Antonioni, but i suppose most obvious comparisons would be with Pasolini. I shall have to give Hawks and Sparrows another try.

One interesting scene is when the monk is trying to make himself heard above the sound of the waterfall; it would be more convincing aurally if shot from below with the peasants, looking up towards him in the distance. That's the obvious shot. Rossellini's way seems strangely amateurish, and yet an unusual and worthwhile effect is created.

Such a film is surely beyond Tarkovsky, Bergman and Bresson


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