The movie “Brother Sun Sister Moon” clearly depicts the emergence of Fransiscan movement in 13th century Italy. Briefly, mysticism emerged as one of the ways to understand reality, not through mind or reason but experience. Besides, we know that Christian mysticism emerged in 2nd B.C, the time when individual mystics were living away from society to be close to God (hermits, münzeviler). The task of a mystic is roughly to reach enlightenment, together with achieving salvation and awakening. In this way, the idea of Asceticism (Zühd) is common to all mystics, in terms of withdrawing from daily life. The idea of poverty in this regard orders not to possess anything and share everything (charity).
In this respect, in the film we see Francesco giving out his father’s fortune without his consent. His father is very rich, and shows his fortune to Francesco, having dreams for him to run his business. Meanwhile Francesco has no interest in that kind of life and he says that “our pleasures are in heaven, not here on earth”. In the beginning sequences the film depicts the transformation of Francesco. He later states that “I was in darkness but brother sun illuminated my soul.” It is interesting that Francesco became a mystic and a leader of a cult, only by running in the fields among trees, animals, simply by “sensing” nature. He experiences a kind of an oceanic feeling, through objects that God had created.
During the period when Francesco lived, Europe was facing several difficulties on social level. People were thinking that a godly world cannot be so unequal. In late medieval times, economy was vast expanding while market economy was on the rise. Consequently, social differentiation has emerged rapidly. Besides, transitory nature of the world was experienced by means of “death” (Black Death, which was depicted in the film The Hour of the Pig). In this period, glorification of poverty has risen (similar to Jesus’ lifestyle in early Christianity). At this period, we see the emergence of Fransiscans. Dominicans were another brotherhood of this period, however later they turn into an instrument, and led the inquisition. Besides, it was also revealed that Pope has welcomed these brotherhoods for the increasing popular piety.
At this point, the film points at another debate. At the end of the film, the Pope kisses feet of Francesco, and his action surprises everybody. One of the monks near the Pope whispers to the man next to him that, Pope is a very intelligent man, and all he wants is to control the poor people so that they may not revolt. There are two ways to interpret this scene; the Pope may really be admiring Francesco for his way to feel God, or he may have been acting politically for the sake of continuity of ongoing ideology. To conclude, the film shows that rise of Franciscanism is very much related to the rise of poverty in Europe. For me, although it doesn’t seem that way, it is very political. It acknowledges poverty as reality of daily life, and instead of calling for revolution to alter poverty it simply offers a way to live with poverty and hence cope with misery.