How do we understand faith and prayer, and what of miracles? August 1925 on a Danish farm. Patriarch Borgen has three sons: Mikkel, a good-hearted agnostic whose wife Inger is pregnant, ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
During the First World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German POW 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
It's easy to overlook this movie. For modern audience and especially my generation (I'm 21), this movie is just close-ups of a crying woman and grumpy old men. But of course that's like saying Mona Lisa is just a picture of a woman, or The Last Supper is dudes eating. If you experience it with open mind, The Passion of Joan of Arc will give you one of the most profound visions of devotion, faith and martyrdom.
I must confess, even I thought the praise of The Passion was too good to be true when I began to watch it. But when the film ended, I wasn't just impressed, I was completely devastated. The Passion of Joan of Arc is a downright amazing realization of Joan's last moments. There's not a hint of sentimentality, and still I was in tears. Yep. Call me a pansy, but this is one of the very few movies that had that impact on me.
I don't know what else to say about this movie, sorry. The Passion of Joan of Arc counts as the most upsetting movie experience I've ever had, but it's definitely a positive one. On the contrary to what the other commentators have said, you don't have to be religious to be receptive in front of this movie. Believe me, I'm a hardcore atheist. If you're going to see this film -- I sure hope you do -- make sure it's accompanied with the Voices of Light soundtrack, which doesn't just fit the film well, but is amazing as a standalone composition, too. I can guarantee you won't look cinema the same way again.
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