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FRANCIS OF ASSISI (1966) - Liliana CAVANI: 1966—1970

£4.50 - concessions

  • dir. Liliana CAVANI

  • year. 1966

  • country. Italy

  • run-time. 134 mins

“His was an existential and poetic enterprise rather than a strictly religious one… Francesco did not want to be the leader of a movement, nor did he wish to found a religious order. His was a creative act, which escapes any codification, and therefore it was revolutionary.” — writer-director Liliana Cavani

Made for television and later shown at the Venice Film Festival (paired with Roberto Rossellini’s The Taking of Power by Louis XIV), Liliana Cavani’s first feature film depicts the late 12th, early 13th century life of Saint Francis of Assisi—subject matter the director would return to in both 1989 and 2014. After his appearance in Marco Bellocchio’s 1965 debut Fists in the Pocket, Lou Castel is cast in the titular role, embodying Francis and his social and spiritual conversion in this black-and-white neorealist portrait of the patron saint of Italy. After airing between May 6 and May 8, 1966, Cavani had her first brush with controversy, Francesco d’Assisi described as “heretical, blasphemous, and offensive for the faith of the Italian people.”

“Liliana Cavani’s 1966 film for Italian television is surprising in the way it differs from more common biopics of Catholic saints. It opens with a highly evocative portrayal of life in the shop of Francis’ father, the rich textile merchant Pietro di Bernardone, showing the son performing activities typical of the era’s privileged youth. Around the age of 20 (he was born in 1181 or 1182), Francis had yet to show any signs of wanting to devote his life to religion; instead, he was preparing for a career as a knight. The young director, who received help on the script from Tullio Pinelli, gave the role of Francis to Lou Castel, who a year earlier had played a rebel in Bellocchio’s Fists in the Pocket. Cavani sees Francis’ spiritual conversion and radical aid for the poor and outcast primarily as a form of rebellion against the state of society. From here sprang Francis’ interpretation of the Bible and his founding of a monastic order dedicated to living in absolute poverty.” — KVIFF

Francesco d’Assisi, 1966, dir. Liliana Cavani, 134min.
Screening as part of Liliana CAVANI: 1966 — 1970 | See also: Franco PIAVOLI: 1954 — 2016
With thanks to: Fondo Liliana Cavani, Istituto Luce Cinecittà

Doors - 7.30pm

Film - 8.00pm