Posted by Webster
No post this week drew more comments than the one on “Brother Sun, Sister Moon,” Franco Zeffirelli’s film about Francis of Assisi. Most readers loved it, although one decidedly did not. Here are excerpts from four readers.
Amy wrote: “I’ve written before about how this is one of my guilty pleasures—lots of inaccuracies about Francis, very reflective of its own period, but HUGELY influential on me when I was in college. As idiosyncratic as it is, I think that the element of self-sacrifice and single-minded love of Christ, and what happens when you allow that Love to live within and that Voice to rule you, does shine through. See it not as history so much as a meditation.” (Amy’s blog has one of the best titles around: “Charlotte Was Both.”)
Shannon wrote: “In 1980, I spent a summer in Assisi and one of the great delights of the summer was watching the Italian version of the movie, shown on the side of a building near the main square. People talked during the movie, mostly poking each other and pointing out how much older the characters in the crowd looked. It was fun running into shopkeepers who’d been in the movie; I’d seen them so often onscreen, I thought I knew them!”
Grace was the dissenting voice: “I am sorry to add a negative note here, but I thought BSSM was horrible. When I saw it when it came out, I thought it was boring. I was irreligious at the time, and it didn’t prompt me in any way to seek God. Fast forward to when I have converted to Catholicism and show it to my non-Catholic teenage son. He made a disparaging remark about the actor/main character about 10 minutes in and got up and left the room. And I couldn’t blame him one bit. The film makes St. Francis out to be an effeminate (if not homosexual) man. It does the saint—and the Catholic Church—a great disservice because the real Saint Francis was very tough-minded.”
And since many expressed a wish to see the film again, here’s another clip—the final scene between Graham Faulkner as Francis and Alec Guinness (with the entrance of his career) as Pope Innocent III.