Once Upon a Time in Greccio

Three days in the life of Francis of Assisi in Christmas 1223. From the dialogue with the fish of Piediluco Lake to a very special lunch in the hermitage of Greccio to end with the celebration of Christmas in the cave. Francis shows himself to be an authentic “Jester of God”, demonstrating great qualities as an actor and director.

Once Upon a Time in Greccio is the first film in the history of cinema to narrate the Birth of the Crib and to choose the register of comedy to tell the story of Francis of Assisi.

Written and directed by Arnaldo Casali and starring the famous tenor Friar Alessandro, the film was produced by ConfraTerni in collaboration with Istess Cinema.

Franciscan friar, Alessandro Brustenghi recorded 4 albums with Decca (Voice from Assisi, Voice of Joy, Voice of Peace and O Holy Night), and making hid debut as an actor he is the first umbrian to play Francis in the cinema.

The cast includes Mauro Cardinali (Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny), famous comedian Francesco Salvi (10th & Wolf) and Fabio Bussotti, who returns to play friar Leo 35 years after Liliana Cavani’s Francesco.

Music is composed by Paolo Paniconi (Rai musician) and Marialuna Cipolla (The Invisible Boy by Oscar winner Gabriele Salvatores).

Arnaldo Casali is a historian, journalist, writer and director of the Terni Film Festival. He published, among others, the books Holy Zombies and Valentine. The Secret of Saint in Love and wrote the short movie Dante, poeta arrogante about life of Dante Alighieri.


Once Upon a Time in Greccio (La Stella di Greccio)

Italy, 2023, 57’

Produced by Angelo Gatto, Roberta Giansanti, Beata Golenska & Lucrezia Proietti
for ConfraTerni & Istess Cinema with Mirabil Eco

Alessandro Brustenghi (Francis of Assisi), Angelo Gatto (Angelo), Giordano Agrusta (Bongiovanni), Cecilia Di Giuli (Jacopa dei Settesoli), Lucio Menghini (Fisherman), Francesco Salvi (Fish), Fabio Bussotti (Leo), Arnaldo Casali (Rufino), Mauro Cardinali (The Professor), Luisa Borini (Chiara).

Production design: Antonio Imperatori, Costume design: Paola Grassi, Sand Art: Gabriella Compagnone, Sound: Joy Rene Abela, Camera operators: Marianna Bregni & Susanna Fortunato, Video assist: Riccardo Servello, Sound design and special effects: Vittorio Elia, Casting: Barbara Cinaglia, Continuity: Veronica Manzini, Catering: Domenico Tariello & Francesca Mannaioli, Editing: Luca Mannaioli, Cinematography: Federico Mastroprimiano, Music: Paolo Paniconi, Songs: Marialuna Cipolla.

Written and Directed by Arnaldo Casali