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 »
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
A superb demonstration of Bresson's talent as one of the last century's greatest film-makers. It is a short film, set minimally in a courtroom, then Joan's cell and finally, with immense power, at the stake. The actors are amateurs, as usual with Bresson, but the message they convey is universal - and as relevant to the 21st century as to the 15th century, when the events, realistically described in the film from court texts, took place.
Was Joan really a freedom-fighter and a saint, receiving messages from God through her saintly visions? Or was she a 15th century terrorist, opposing both the power of the English occupying army and the tenets of the Catholic Church and its bishops? As the trial is enacted, there are no obvious villains - not even the English officer representing the occupying secular power. And Joan needs to be discreetly prompted by a white-clad priest, whose motives are obscure, casting some doubts on the certainties of her visions. The triumph of the director and the actors is that you feel that the viewer is totally involved in the interactions - and I had to rush to the history books to learn more about the main characters as soon as the film finished.
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