brother sun, sister moon

has anybody seen this movie? Someone told my husband that he may like it. he has a special love for St. Francis. I was wondering if it’s a good movie to watch. Does it have some garbage in it? it says in the discription that st. francis starts his own church to the dismay of the biship. does the movie portray him as a wanna-be protestant? my hubby isn’t catholic, so if it’s going to give him a nasty impression of the church, I don’t want to encourage him to watch it. But if it’s a good movie about the saint, it may be something nice we can do together.
thanks :slight_smile:

It is a good movie in my opinion. The soundtrack for the english version is a bit too hippy-ish for my tastes (although the Italian version has opera music). Nice movie about the early ministry of St. Francis.

I didnt find anything in it about St. Francis as a wanna-be protestant. Parts are rather historicaly accurate.

I saw it many, many years ago when it first came out. St. Francis doesn’t start his own church but rebuilds a church (physical building) which was lying in ruins. Caesar is right about the sound track (movie came out in the early 70s as I recall) although I recall the movie as being historically inaccurate in regards to costuming and armor - minor points. It sort of makes St. Francis look like a kindred flower child.

thanks for sharing. it sounds safe enough to put on my netflix list :slight_smile:

In many ways a horrible film (historicall inaccuracies), I heartily recommend it. :smiley: I’ve only seen the english version, and it is a favorite. listens to Donovan

I own it and I enjoy it.

Unlike the above posters, the soundtrack (by Donovan. Remember him?! Sunshine Superman? Mellow Yellow?)is one of the things I really enjoy about the film. But then, I have a weakness for 60s folk-rock :cool:

Visually, it is an absolutely gorgeous film. The photography was extremely well done and one can really get a feel for the natural beauty of St. Francis’ native region and why its beauty moved him so to the contemplation and praise of God.

The overall tone of the movie captures St. Francis’ spirit very well, IMHO. The director was Franco Zeffirelli who, you may remember, was responsible for the excellent Jesus of Nazareth series, as well as the famous 60s film version of Romeo and Juliet. Mr. Zeffirelli is a devout, practising Catholic and so handled his presentation of St. Francis with great reverence and care.

The film does have its limitations. It is very much a movie of its time (1972, if I remember correctly) and it reflects a bit of a flower-child philosophy, yes. The relationship between St. Francis and St. Clare is touching and tastefully handled. But once Clare has decided to follow Francis’ example, she is portrayed as joing St. Francis and his brothers and living side-by-side with them in a sort of medieval hippy commune :stuck_out_tongue: at the Portiuncula church that St. Francis had restored with his own hands. In reality, I believe that St. Francis, not having anticipated that women might want to imitate his example, gladly accepted Clare but took her to a nearby cloistered convent. She did *not *live with him and his brothers.

The film also portrays the bishop as caving in to the pressures of the civil rulers and ordering that his soldiers forcibly close the Portiuncula church and disband the little community. In the process they set fire to the church and kill one of the Franciscans who, if I am not mistaken, is portrayed as somewhat mentally handicapped. The Franciscan posters on the forums will have to correct me here if I am wrong, but this event is apocryphal and never occurred. It is inserted as a dramatic device in the film to force St. Francis’ decision to journey to Rome and seek the Holy Father’s approval of his new Order.

Finally, the final scene in the Lateran Basilica in Rome, with Sir Alec Guinness portraying Pope Innocent III, is very moving and well done in my opinion. The Pope, surrounded by the opulence of the medieval curia, is overwhelmed by the humility and poverty of Francis and his rag-tag band of followers and, following a moving speech in which he blesses Francis and his brothers, throws off his opulent vestments and kneels to kiss St. Francis’ dirty feet.

Now a bit o’ trivia for those who consider the film a bit too “hippy-dippy”: it could have been much worse. According to Zeffirelli’s autobiography, The Beatles were asked to appear in the film’s principal roles but were unable to do so because of scheduling conflicts! (Zeffirelli had previously tried to convince Paul McCartney to accept the role of Romeo in his 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet.) Now, I am a HUGE Beatles fan, but I am so-o-oo happy that this didn’t come off. The thought of John “Imagine” Lennon or George “Hari Krishna” Harrison potentially ending up portraying St. Francis is just too weird. :ehh:

But hey, it was the 60s … :whacky:

Moneo,
what a nice, well thought out reply. thank you so much :slight_smile:

and if the Beatles would have been in that movie, there would be snow in you know where before my hubby would watch it. he does NOT like those dudes. He says they are trators to the Lord.

I still love the Beatles. :smiley:

:bigyikes: Oh my, that would have been too dreadful for words.

Moneo, I couldn’t tell you the last time I have seen this movie (80s? maybe). But I was one of the very few young people of that era who despised the music of his generation. Had the Beatles been in the movie, I most assuredly would not have seen it.

When you think that this is the same Franco Zeffirelli who filmed 1968’s stunning Romeo and Juliet and then later followed up with Jesus of Nazareth in the 70s, this film came really close to almost trivializing St. Francis because of the “hippie” aura. Zeffirelli captured the essence of Renaissance Verona in Romeo and Juliet and Nino Rota’s score (using Renaissance themes) started my life-long love of Medieval and Renaissance music. There were a number of other productions in those years which used authentic music -e.g. Anne of a Thousand Days, A Man for All Seasons, and the BBC Series, The Six Wives of Henry VIII.

The scenery is stunning. The colors are gorgeous. The armor and costuming are anything but authentic. I know I’m just being picky, but I would far prefer to have seen a more authentic St. Francis and a more accurate interpretation of his ministry during the High Middle Ages - or at least to better set St. Francis within the context of his own society. St. Francis is a contemporary of Eleanor of Acquitaine, Richard the Lionheart and he witnessed the birth of chivalry and the dawning of the Troubadors but he was not of the noble class and therein lies the fundamental tension between St. Francis and his world.

While this was a good movie, by an excellent director, I have to agree with some of the above posters that some aspects of it are not historicaly accurate at all.

And then there is the story line. As Moneo stated, there was never any such event as the Bishop of Assisi sending soldiers to burn down the church and kill a Franciscan. Although St. Francis did rebuild the the runied Church of San Damiano- he was in the church when Christ in an icon of the Crucifixion spoke to him and said “Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins”. Francis interpreted this at first to mean the actual church building he was in. However, early on in his ministry, Francis restored several ruined churches and his favorite was the Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels which was outside the city- I believe the film combined this chapel with San Damiano Church.

Also, the confrontation between Francis and Pope Innocent II is not entirely correct either. In the film, Francis and his small following go to Rome to recieve Papal approval of their order. The priest Peter of Cattaneo, a Canon of the Cathedral in Assisi, reluctantly assists Francis by using his influence as a clergyman to get the Franciscans in to see the Pope. I believe the scene is in either Old St. Peter’s or the Lateran. Peter of Cattaneo writes a speech for Francis to read to the Holy Father and the Roman Curia, but instead he openly denounces the opulance of the Holy See, whereupon the Roman clergy order the Franciscans to prison. The Pope (who has yet to speak in the film) is about the pronounce judgement on St. Francis and have him burned as a heretic, when it is implied that the Pope recieves a vision (like in all Zeffirelli films symbolism takes place over dialogue- the Pope raises his hand in the sign of judgement but stops as the camera moves so that the massive icon of Christ Pantokrator is seen behind the throne. The Pope throws off his bejeweled cope and calls for Francis to be brought back) and the Pope takes on a father-figure image for the Franciscans before bowing to kiss Francis’ dirty feet. The clerics replace the cope around the Pope’s shoulders and place the Papal Tiara on his head while a Gloria in Excelsis Deo is intoned. Francis is then seen walking walking into sunset singing the main Brother Sun/Sister Moon theme.

This is incorrect. The most accepted versions of the story have Pope Innocent mockingly tell Francis to go and tend to pigs instead- which he immediately does. The Pope and the curia are amazed at his obedience and reconsider. Another version has Pope Innocent ordering the Franciscans off (or to prison) and then during the night having a dream in which he beholds Francis holding up a quaking Lateran Basilica. Also, Canon Peter of Cattaneo had joined St. Francis much earlier and it was in fact the Bishop of Assisi (who is portrayed as being corrupt and decadent in the film) who gained Francis a Papal audience.

This film also tries to make a clear differance between the Catholic Church of the day and the lifestyle of the Franciscans. The rituals of the Church are somewhat portrayed as being bloated pomp and ceremony and the clergy is decadent (although this is probably true to some extent). In comparison the Franciscans are shown gathering in the rebuilt church, but none of the Mass is actualy shown and the setting is much more bright and cheerful then the dreary and mysterious Mass in the Cathedral. In fact though, St. Francis was very devout in the Sacramental life of the Church. Another comparission in the film is the willingness of St. Francis to aid the poor, whereas the institutional Church shuns them.

The armor and costuming are anything but authentic.

When this movie was shown in my religion class, my teacher (a historian as well) said the exact opposite- although just based on appearance I would tend to agree with you.

This is true and important.

The film also portrays the bishop as caving in to the pressures of the civil rulers and ordering that his soldiers forcibly close the Portiuncula church and disband the little community. In the process they set fire to the church and kill one of the Franciscans who, if I am not mistaken, is portrayed as somewhat mentally handicapped. The Franciscan posters on the forums will have to correct me here if I am wrong, but this event is apocryphal and never occurred. It is inserted as a dramatic device in the film to force St. Francis’ decision to journey to Rome and seek the Holy Father’s approval of his ew Order.

I’m a Franciscan and I have read much about Francis. I have never heard this story.

Actually the brother dying is partly true… The little church still exists, or it did still in 1985 before the last earthquake. It was put inside the Basilica in Assisi, and to the right there is a stone carved with the date and brief description in Latin about the brother who died…

I personally love the film, even with the inaccuracies, but I would love to know if it is a film actually approved by the Vatican. I would love to be able to share it with the religious ed classes, (older kids of course), at my parish…

Pretty much it exactly for this movie. I really like it, but it smacks of the 60’s to me. I can’t “imagine” the Beatles in the movie, although I am a fan of the group. Would have been wrong on a lot of levels.

If you want a good Saint Francis movie, try Francis of Assisi. Movie has Mother Delores Hart as St Clare. I like both movies as they are slightly different takes.

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