During the first World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.
The sufferings of a martyr, Jeanne D'Arc (1412-1431). Jeanne appears in court where Cauchon questions her and d'Estivet spits on her. She predicts her rescue, is taken to her cell, and judges forge evidence against her. In her cell, priests interrogate her and judges deny her the Mass. Threatened first in a torture chamber and then offered communion if she will recant, she refuses. At a cemetery, in front of a crowd, a priest and supporters urge her to recant; she does, and Cauchon announces her sentence. In her cell, she explains her change of mind and receives communion. In the courtyard at Rouen castle, she burns at the stake; the soldiers turn on the protesting crowd. Written by
Dreyer's masterpiece one of cinema's greatest artistic triumphs
One of the last great silent films made during the advent of sound, Carl-Theodor Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc is a haunting, riveting portrait of the historical martyr based on documentation from the original trial. Focusing primarily on the series of courtroom examinations that doomed the young warrior, the film gloriously employs vivid close-ups to accentuate the ordinariness (while at the same time exaggerating the most grotesque qualities) of Joan's inquisitors. Maria Falconetti is unforgettable as Joan, perfectly distilling the pain, terror, and saintliness required by what is probably one of the most demanding roles an actor could attempt. The consequence of Joan's conviction -- her burning at the stake -- allows Dreyer to hammer home his exquisite visual motif balancing erotic corporeality with transcendent spirituality.
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