Produced by:
Claudia Mori
for Ciao Ragazzi

A film by:
Liliana Cavani

Script by:
Liliana Cavani
G.M. Pagano
M. Falcone
M. Zappelli

Francis – Mateusz Kosciukiewicz
Clare – Sara Serraiocco
Elias – Vinicio Marchioni
Francis’ Father – Rutger Hauer
Francis’ Mother – Giselda Volodi
Ugolino – Benjamin Sadler
Pope Innocent III – Ludwig Blochberger
Bishop of Assisi Guido I – Domenico Fortunato
Leone – Michael Schermi
Pietro Cattani – Robin Mugnaini
Ruffino – Niccolo’ Senni
Bernardo – Beniamino Brogi
Masseo – Brenno Placido
Silvestro – Fabio Bussotti
Illuminato – Michele Balducci
Angelo – Claudio Ammendola
Agnes – Angela Curri
Guido – Paolo Bernardini
Raniero – Paco Reconti
Cardinal Pelagio – Mattia Sbragia
Advisor Pandolfini – Giulio Pampiglione
Sultan Al Malik Al Kamil – Mehdi Moinzadeh
Leper – Giulio Corso
Francis’ Father Lawyer – Diego Ribon

Ciao Ragazzi
Rai Fiction in collaboration with Bayerischer Rundfunk – Beta Film

Studio t


After all these centuries, St. Francis from Assisi is still seen as an original and passionate spiritual figure. His message and his way of life, which stemmed from a new and revolutionary interpretation of the Gospels, were founded on key concepts: peace, sharing, brotherhood and solidarity. Concepts that are, in our day and age, still essential to mankind’s values.

The originality of Francis is that he never had the intention of converting his fellow men nor of creating a good and perfect world, because all he wanted to do was to live and experience the brethren of all God’s creatures. By recognizing it and by living it, he brought the focus back to this. Only one who feels empathy can inspire empathy. Francis’ mission is successful because he’s telling every being he meets that “you’re already my brothers and sisters because God loves you”.

Francis’ beginnings are in the battlefield and in the quest of adventure, but once he hears God’s calling vesting him with an unexpected and exciting new role made of trials and tribulations, his life becomes extraordinarily beautiful.

His initial choices are confused and filled with contradictions, and from the start he’s on a completely different page than his father: as a rich cloth merchant and a lender, the expectations he had for his son’s future will get crushed. Francis wants to follow another Father, the Father of Creation.

Abandoning his wealthy family is a traumatic choice. Francis decides to live in poverty and as a hermit, scraping a living with manual jobs. During his first years he’s considered a fanatic and an eccentric. But soon his friends and many young people will admire and copy his lifestyle: they’ll abandon their wealth and follow a life of freedom far from the rules of their violent and strict society.

From the very start Francis is a sweet, sensitive young man – even if sometimes stubborn and harsh – and has no intention of changing the world, nor anybody’s life for that matter. All he wants is to be with other human beings and make men and women understand, whether they’re rich or poor, learned or ignorant, that they’re all brothers and sisters, just like it says in the Gospels.
Francis is a young and charismatic figure who doesn’t judge nor doesn’t decide who is worthy of his love and attention but accepts every man and woman who wants to share in his joy of finding God. This is how the fraternitas comes into being and will find one of its most significant expressions in an exceptionally large gathering of young people that will be remembered as the “Chapter of the rattan mats”. During this happening, mats will be used to build shelters for the thousands of youngsters who have come from all over Europe and Italy to meet, listen, see in person and touch the most convincing ambassador of Christ that the world will ever know.

This is the century of the Fifth Crusade in which the Papacy is involved in a devastating war against the Muslim world for the control of the Holy Land. Francis travels to Egypt on a peace mission but will find more support and understanding from the Muslim side. His meeting with the Sultan Al Malik-Al Kamil has become legendary, where two cultures, two different religions, come together in loving the same God. Francis doesn’t’ ask for favors nor tries to convert him: he only wants to share with him the possibility of peace. The meeting will be a very fruitful one.

When he returns to Assisi he finds out that while he was away the community and the group he created has drastically changed – as requested by the Church – and a structured internal organization has been put in place, thus losing it’s original spontaneity and freedom.
Francis is requested to draw up a “Rule” for his brethren, which wouldn’t include living without an endowed income. He’ll insist over and over that a Rule already exists and can be found in the Gospels.

The Francis we’re proposing is based on recent historical findings and will be told through his most important relationships. Clare of Assisi comes from a noble family and was the first to see Francis’ spiritual potential. She’ll run away from home to follow him, thus cutting all ties with her family. She’ll be the person Francis will go to for advice during his difficulties and one of the few who will remain true to Francis’ spirituality till her death. Elias of Cortona is Francis’ friend, but also his antagonist. From humble origins, he’ll work his way up the social ladder by studying hard and receiving various degrees from the university of Bologna. He’s ambitious and nothing will stop him from becoming successful. He studied to become rich and can’t understand how Francis can turn away from his father’s wealth and how he can influence other young rich men to do the same. But when he sees that Francis’ success is becoming international, he decides to join the winner on the triumph wagon, turning in a sort of manager of the movement. He wants to help and organize the Church’s control over Francis’ community: this popular young movement counteracts well with the recent heretical groups, and can only but benefit the Ecclesia. But the words left by Francis in his will and the tenacity of his followers of the likes of Clare, speak of an extraordinarily contemporary adventure.

Paul Sabatier, a famous medievalist and the most respected biographer of Francis, writes: “This hero, the purest hero Italy and humanity has ever seen, deeply loved France, my country: thus it is appropriate for a French man to study his life and show that the real Francis was more important and stronger than the legendary Francis. The Poor Man Dante versed about is humanity’s greatest liberator”

This miniseries (two episodes, 100 minutes each) will cover three important periods of Francis’ life, and they’ll be tied together not only by the Main Character’s development, but also through the experiences of his two important followers: Clare and Elias, with the latter also playing in different moments the role of the antagonist.