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FRANCESCO
2014

poster

TV Mini-Series

Director:
Liliana Cavani

Language:
English

Running Time: 2 episodes 100' ea.

Main Cast:
Mateusz Kosciukiewicz - Saint Francis of Assisi
Rutger Hauer - Pietro di Bernardone (Francesco's Father)
Sara Serraiocco - Saint Clare (Chiara)
Giselda Volodi- Pica de Bourlemont (Francesco's Mother)
Benjamin Sadler - Ugolino
Domenico Fortunato - Guido I
Vinicio Marchioni - Elia da Cortona
Michael Schermi - Leone
Robin Mugnaini - Pietro Cattani
Niccolo' Senni - Ruffino,
Beniamino Brogi - Bernardo
Brenno Placido - Masseo
Michele Balducci - Illuminato

Screenplay:
Liliana Cavani, G.M. Pagano, M. Falcone, M. Zappelli

Plot:
Francis was born Giovanni di Bernardore, but because his father calls him Francis, so does everyone else. His father, Pietro di Bernardone, is a successful cloth merchant, and Francis grows up with a love of fine clothes and good times. He is educated in math, poetry, and music and learns to read and write. Francis is expected to become a cloth merchant like his father.

When he is twenty, Francis joins the forces from Assisi in their fight against Perugia, an Italian town. He is taken prisoner and a year later, sobered by jail and sickness, he undergoes several religious experiences in quick succession: in one of these, while he is praying in the run-down chapel of Saint Damiano outside Assisi, he hears a voice from the crucifix telling him, 'Francis, go repair my house, which is falling in ruins'. Francis goes quickly back to the city, sells his horse and some cloth from his father's shop, and comes back to give the money to the priest at Saint Damiano.

Francis's father, furious that his son is wasting his money on churches and beggars, takes him before the bishop to bring him to his senses. When the hearing begins, Francis calmly takes off all of his clothes, gives them to his father (the astonished bishop quickly covers Francis with a cloak), and says that he is now recognizing only his Father in heaven, not his father on earth. He lives his life from now on without money and without family ties.

The thirteenth century is also a time when the Christian religion is taken very much for granted, and Francis feels the need to return to the original spirit of Christ. This means living without materialistic attachments, and it also means loving other people.

A number of the young men of Assisi, attracted by Francis's example, join him in his new way of life. In 1209 Francis and his companions go to Rome, where they present their ideas to Pope Innocent III and receive his approval.

They found themselves influencing more and more people, including a lady named Clare, whom Francis helps to enter a monastery of nuns and who later begins the 'second order' of Franciscans, the order for women.

In 1212, Francis leaves for the Holy Land. His ship runs into bad weather, and he has to return to Italy. Two years later his adventurous spirit and missionary zeal drive him to seek the Moors, who are Muslim, in Spain, but sickness prevents him from completing the trip. He tries once more, in 1219, going to Egypt with the Crusaders.

At the siege of the city of Damietta in Egypt, Francis boldly walks through the battle lines into the enemy camp and meets the king of Egypt, who, apparently impressed with Francis's ideas about brotherly love, gives him permission to continue on to the Holy Land.

When Francis hears that trouble has started in Italy among some of his followers, now numbering in the thousands, he returna home. The force of his own personality has held the group together, but now Francis sees the need for more practical rules to his kind of Christian life.

Francis goes to Rome to present the new rules to Pope Honorius III, who approves them wholeheartedly. In this period other friars join him, including Friar Elia Coppi.

Francis returns to Assisi and begins to spend more and more time alone in prayer, leaving the decisions about his organization to others.

He speaks to the birds and the animals as though they are his friends. He writes about Brother Sun and Sister Moon.

His last two years are lived in almost constant pain and near-blindness.


Rutger on the set with director Liliana Cavani, Mateusz Kosciukiewicz (Francesco) and Sara Saracco (Chiara)

Notes:
'Francesco' will be premiered on the Italian TV (RAI 1 channel) on December 8 and 9, 2014.

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