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Roberto Rossellini's buoyant 1950 masterpiece is a glorious hallucination of perfect harmony between man and nature. The Franciscans arrive at Assisi in the first reel and leave in the last. In between, as they say, nothing happens and everything happens. Rossellini is able to suggest the scope and rhythm of an entire lost way of life through a gradual accumulation of well-observed detail. The Franciscans are at once inspired and slightly foolish, but Rossellini maintains a profound respect for the grandeur of their delusions. A great film, all the more impressive for being apparently effortless. In Italian with subtitles.

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