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Starring: Mickey Rourke
Director: Liliana Cavani
Studio: Simitar Video
Date Released: VHS 1993, DVD 1998
ASIN: VHS 6304808259, DVD 6304810792
Price: $6.99 to 12.99
Comments: From the Vatican's Best Films List
From US Catholic Bishops -- Office of Film and Broadcasting:
Francesco (1989) Overwrought Italian production portrays St. Francis of
Assisi (Mickey Rourke) as a spiritual agitator challenging the accepted values of
his 13th-century contemporaries by embracing a life of utter poverty and
simplicity. Director Liliana Cavani builds an elaborate picture of the period's
social injustices but fails to evoke any convincing sense of religious conviction
from Rourke's embarrassingly vacuous performance. English-language version.
Occasional scenes of violence, desperate poverty and brief nudity. The U.S.
Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture
Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some
material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (Hemdale, $89.95)
From amazon.com review:
Casting Mickey Rourke as St. Francis of Assisi makes as much sense as giving
Doris Day the role of Medea! I mean, the guy looks old, flabby and tatooed;
not at all your average "Poverello"!
But maybe that's just the point director Liliana Cavani is trying to make:
that someone as crass as Rourke can become an extraordinary saint but by the
Grace of God. And if so, the movie works to perfection, avoiding the
don't-worry-be-happy, life-is-a-bowl-of-cherries attitude of 'Brother Sun, Sister Moon'.
This St. Francis suffers, has doubts and pays a heavy price for the life he
seeks. It is perhaps too gloomy at times but certainly more accurate, and -I
think- complements the Zeffirelli classic by showing the other side of this
amazing man's persona.
I bought this film because a cousin of mine who works at the Vatican
recommended it to me. She told me the Pope was very distraught after seeing it, and
that he even cried at the end. You may believe this or not (I do), but the movie
is surely far more intense and thought-provoking that whatever the cretinous
Mr. Maltin may say about it.
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