After the première at Cannes Film Festival, the restoration of Roberto Rossellini‘s Francesco Giullare di Dio (The Flowers of St. Francis) carried out by Cineteca di Bologna and The Film Foundation in collaboration with RTI-Mediaset and Infinity+ has been shown in Bologna during the opening day of Il Cinema Ritrovato. The film, featured in the strand named Ritrovati e Restaurati I, was introduced by actress Isabella Rossellini, who also took part in two other events: a conversation with Alice Rohrwacher with the title Cinema in Campagna and the screening of Il Mulino del Po (dir. Alberto Lattuada) in Piazza Maggiore, accompanied by two shorts (Omelia Contadina by Alice Rohrwacher and JR and Green Porno by Isabella Rossellini).
Today’s screening took place in Arena del Sole, one of Bologna’s most beautiful and prestigious theaters. Isabella Rossellini was interviewed by Gianluca Farinelli, the Cineteca di Bologna’s director. The actress explained how her father chose to focus on St. Francis because he is perceived as the people’s saint. Even those who didn’t go to church were interested in him. “This film was born in 1954, after the war, where reconciliation was a very important subject”, continued Isabella Rossellini.
One of the most peculiar aspects of this film is its sense of humor, mostly thanks to Fellini’s collaboration. According to Gianluca Farinelli, Francesco Giullare di Dio represents the denial of the typical rules of entertainment and this is why it can be considered a Manifesto of auteur cinema, inspiring titles such as Pasolini‘s Il vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to St. Matthew). Isabella Rossellini voiced her hope that this film can be of inspiration for any aspiring director because it teaches the importance of semplicity. She concluded her intervention by sharing a brief anecdote regarding her father: “one time he was invited to a school for a conference and he brought his camera. All the students were staring at it mesmerized but he told them that if he were a writer they wouldn’t have stared at his pen. The ideas matter, not the medium”.