The Flowers of St. Francis (Rossellini, 1950)

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Rossellini’s The Flowers of St. Francis displays a potent sense of purpose and faith, especially during the final images of a group of Friars, having spent the whole film learning from St. Francis’s stoic, peaceful, and forgiving example, treking off in different directions to spread the gospel. Told in vignettes, the story of St. Francis and his flock has a strange lightness for such a seemingly serious and uptight subject. The film even has moments of comedy spread throughout as its Friars bumble towards enlightenment one step at a time.

I’m still grappling with it’s themes of divine intervention and blind faith. While the father’s seemingly help so many people, they are also abused, hounded, and even harmed by countless others. Even so, the Friar’s continue with their mission in the face of adversity and doubt within themselves, a difficult cross to bear for anyone. As my mom would say, “set a good example for your brother.” Rossellini seems to be saying the same thing.

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