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Told in flashback, the film relates Francis of Assisi's evolution from rich man's son to religious humanitarian and eventually to full-fledged saint. Francesco was based on Hermann Hesse's Francis of Assisi, which director Liliana Cavani had previously filmed in 1966. The Saint and founder of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor is played by Mickey Rourke, and his inspiration, the woman who later became Saint Clare, is played by Helena Bonham Carter. Raised as the pampered son of a merchant, Francis goes off to war only to ...

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