Friday, March 8, 2013

1972 - BROTHER SON, SISTER MOON, the hippie Saint Francis

Returning from some war,  Francesco has a spiritual crisis and decides to rebuild a monastery and minister to the poor.  This is the story of St. Francis of Assisi portrayed as if he was some sort of conscious objector during the Vietnam War.

Directed by Franco Zeffirelli who had been an assistant to Visconti, Rossellini and De Sica, he should have known better.  The film lacks the virtues of a saint who took vows of poverty and simplicity amongst other things.  An overblown bunch of overproduced slop with lots of scenes of people frolicking in fields of flowers and artistic shots of lepers arranged in front of a water fall for pictorial effect.  The cast is made of up young pretty actors who look like they came out of a fashion show rather than a religious order.

There is a very deliberate attempt to portray Francis and his followers as a bunch of hippie freaks, instead they come off as clueless idiots with some sort of strange mental problems.  Frequently songs by folk singer Donovan are heard on the soundtrack set to the words of St. Francis.  The whole thing seemed to be pitched at an audience of potheads and granola munchers.

Towards the end of the film Alec Guinness shows up in an extended cameo as  Pope Obi Wan Kenobi or something to validate the philosophy of St Francis.  May the "Force" be with St Francis.

122 minutes.

No comments: