A part of Joan of Arc's life. At the beginning, Jeanne (Joan) has already left Domremy, she is trying to convince a captain to escort her to the Dauphin. It ends during Jeanne's first ... See full summary »
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A part of Joan of Arc's life. At the beginning, Jeanne (Joan) has already left Domremy, she is trying to convince a captain to escort her to the Dauphin. It ends during Jeanne's first battle, at Orleans. Meanwhile, Jeanne is depicted more as a warrior than a saint (all cliches are avoided), with only her faith for strength. Written by
French screenwriter and director Jacques Rivette's fourteenth feature film is the first part of his two films about Joan of Arc which was succeeded by "Joan the Maid, part II: The Prisons" (1994). The screenplay for the film was written by Christine Laurent, Pascale Bonitzer and Jacques Rivette. It tells the story about Jeanne d'Arc, who At the age of sixteen made notable predictions concerning a military action known as the Battle of the Herrings which took place near Rouvray in France on the 12th of February in 1429, during the siege of Orléans. After news from the front which confirmed her prediction, Jeanne was granted an escort to visit the royal French court of Chinon by the son of the Chamberlain of the Duke of Bar, Robert de Baudricourt. In male disguise, she traveled through hostile Burgundian territory and when arriving at the Royal Court in early March, she took part in a private conversation where she impressed Charles VII, the king of France, and asked him for permission to join the army and wear the apparatus of a knight.
This precisely and engagingly directed French production is a retelling of the patron saint of France who claimed to have received her first visions at the age of twelve around 1424, which she identified as Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret and who according to her told her to drive out the English and bring the Dauphin of France to Reims for his initiation. Drawing a humane, individualistic and far from heavenly portrayal of the 14th century patriot who came from a small village and rose to prominence as a teenager, Jacques Rivette gives this epic period drama a compelling realism.
Jacques Rivette's reconstruction of the main battles where Joan of Arc led the French army against the English, also focuses on the stage in her life when she after having been examined by church officials and other authorities in order to confirm her mortality, received ecclesiastical and royal approval and was joined with the relief army which was gathered in Blois near the lower river Loire between Orléans and Tours on the 28th of April in 1429. The fine cinematography by the director's frequent collaborator William Lubtchansky, the notable costume design by one of the films screenwriters Christine Laurent and the colorful production design by Emmanuel de Chauvigny, makes this a visually appealing film. This brilliantly paced and character-driven historical drama has a stringent narrative structure, a rhythmic and effective score by Catalan composer Jordi Savall, a nuanced and understated acting performance by French actress Sandrine Bonnaire and some fine supporting acting performances by French actresses Tatiana Moukhine and Jean-Marie Richier.
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