As a celebration of mankind's inescapable flaws and weaknesses, as well as the joy of communal living, the film makes an argument that saints, far from being modeled after canons of perfection, are closer to those in the harshest needs.
Beautifully shot film that presents vignettes from the life of Francis of Assisi that presents so-called Christian values of charity, sacrifice, and poverty. Mind you its also a group of men blindly following a self proclaimed vessel of God. One person's viewing could be a deeply religious experience allowing them to question the tenets of their own faith, but another's take may be the cult like aspects shown.
Let's say it wasn't as profound or transcendental as promised, and as my third Rossellini film after Rome, Open City and Voyage in Italy it was a bit of a let-down. Visually it's a beautiful film, and some segments are amazing, but as a whole it just feels average and unexciting.
I just saw this for the second (or third?) time and enjoyed it so much more. I guess I had to see some other Rossellini films to really enjoy the simplicity of this. The one gripe I used to have about it was that unlike, say, Andrei Rublev, we don't really see Francis "tested" as person. But the film is humble, like him, and Francis' tests come from simply humility and constant charity.
Roberto Rossellini was one of the most influential directors of all time and challenged the language and rules of filmmaking and I feel like that influence from this film was heavy inspiration for Andrei Tarkovsky when he did Amdrei Rublev.