Tag: Roberto Rossellini

March Around the World: Week Two

March Around the World

Week two left me in awe. Such an immensity of beauty and emotion from films like Le Havre and The Music Room. Starting the week in Denmark and working through Italy, My only respites from Europe were two “trips” to Iran and India. Week two did, however, span the greatest amount of time. From Germany: Year Zero (1948) – The Great Beauty (2013), the transition was startling. Having started just three years after the end of WWII in bomb-riddled Berlin, and seeing, just three days later, the nearly-unscathed Rome of 2013(not to mention the color in which Paolo Sorrentino bathes his film) was truly jarring. Having never seen a Finnish or Iranian film (at least none that are worth recollection), week two was also quite the learning experience. While the Finnish film (Le Havre) was not based in, or involved with Finland, my exposure to Aki Kaurismäki has lead me to an entirely new realm of film discovery (more on that later). Satyajit Ray’s The Music Room offered a glimpse into the feudal/caste system of India, and Abbas Kiarostami’s Close-Up introduced me to the, almost comically-informal Iranian court system. Roberto Rossellini’s Germany: Year Zero opened my eyes to the historically-forgotten post-WWII German peoples, and their (one could argue, deserved) struggles.

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The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)

Much like the monks around which it is centered, Roberto Rossellini’s The Flowers of St. Francis thrives on its simplicity. Through shunning outside influence and gratuitous artifice, the film has maintained a genuine and monk-like sincerity that is impossible to ignore. A figurehead of Italian Neo-Realism cinema, Rossellini injects The Flowers of St. Francis with authenticity via his casting of non-actor monks from the Nocere Inferiore Monastery, and seeking writing advice from Fathers Antonio Lisandrini and Félix Morlión.

The Flowers of St. Francis

Based on Fioretti Di San Francesco and La Vita di Frate Ginepro, The Flowers of St. Francis takes its (abbreviated) parable structure from the former work focusing on small deeds and lessons taught by St. Francis to his disciples. Divided into nine parts, Rossellini’s film introduces each segment with a brief title card describing what will take place. Serving a duel purpose, the title cards not only introduce the familiar scenarios from the novel, but also act as a summery of events to come – forcing a new audience to focus on the gravity of the events themselves, rather than to follow along with an unknown narrative structure.

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