A reconstruction of the trial of Joan of Arc (based entirely on the transcripts of the real-life trial), concerning Joan's imprisonment, interrogation and final execution at the hands of ... See full summary »
In the Fifteenth Century, France is a defeated and ruined nation after the One Hundred Years War against England. The fourteen years old farm girl Joan of Arc claims to hear voices from ... See full summary »
Francis L. Sullivan
Mouchette is a young girl living in the country. Her mother is dying and her father does not take care of her. Mouchette remains silent in the face of the humiliations she undergoes. One ... See full summary »
A million miles away from 'Camelot' or 'Excalibur', this film ruthlessly strips the Arthurian legend down to its barest essentials. Arthur's knights, far from being heroic, are conniving ... See full summary »
Laura Duke Condominas,
A forged 500-franc note is cynically passed from person to person and shop to shop, until it falls into the hands of a genuine innocent who doesn't see it for what it is - which will have ... See full summary »
Sylvie Van den Elsen,
French Resistance activist Andre Devigny is imprisoned by the Nazis, and devotes his waking hours to planning an elaborate escape. Then, on the same day, he is condemned to death, and given... See full summary »
Charles Le Clainche,
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
A reconstruction of the trial of Joan of Arc (based entirely on the transcripts of the real-life trial), concerning Joan's imprisonment, interrogation and final execution at the hands of the English, filmed in a spare, low-key fashion. Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
Although the story takes place in 1431, Jeanne's hairstyle is strictly a popular mode of the early 1960s. This is not a "goof" but an intention on the director's part to help young people identify with the character. See more »
The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962) chronicles the last days of the fifteenth-century French patriot, from her interrogation by members of the Parisian clergy to her execution by burning at the stake. In the entire film there are only three locations: the courthouse, the jail and the place of Joan's execution. The words of Joan and her prosecutors, lifted almost exclusively from transcripts of the trial, take centre stage.
The clergymen probe relentlessly into Joan's religious beliefs. Twisting her words at every turn, they insinuate that she is a pagan and a heretic. Joan, parrying each thrust of their argument, appeals to a higher religious authority to prove her innocence. The clergymen, however, are mere stooges of the British, and resolve to brand her a heretic. Facing death, Joan initially recants her heresy, but then reaffirms it, thus sealing her fate. Her meagre possessions are placed at the foot of the stake, echoing the way in which her testimonies have been used against her. A clergyman holds aloft a crucifix for her but this image of Christianity is lost in the smoke from her burning pyre.
The Trial of Joan of Arc features an impressive cast of non-professional actors. Florence Delay is superb in the role of Joan, radiating defiance behind her impassive countenance. A few of the performances elsewhere are a bit wooden, but the grave manner of Bishop Cauchon and the benign gaze of the sole sympathetic priest testify to the overall strength of the casting.
Running to little more than an hour in length, The Trial of Joan of Arc might seem on paper to be an insubstantial work. Yet this is an extraordinarily intense film, thick with powerful dialogue and requiring the full concentration of the viewer. For someone not fluent in French, it is a challenge to read the subtitles and follow the images on screen, but, whether you are French-speaking or not, I highly recommend this powerful piece of cinema.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?