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 »
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
What do we learn? Where is the passion? What's the point?
This is "realism"? If Rivette was seeking to give us a ground-level study of a woman in a certain place and time and how she was able to influence (and was influenced by) the world around her, he has failed miserably. Most prominently because we never get a clue as to why thousands of men would have followed her into battle. There is certainly not enough exposition of the cultural/historical context to define the country's need for such a savior and, god knows, there is nothing particularly charismatic about Joan as she is presented here. Unless Bonnaire's wooden posturing and flat line readings are supposed to indicate transcendent faith and determination. The use of landscape is particularly uninspired - we never lose the feeling we are watching twentieth century actors wandering in a supposedly medieval landscape. And as for the battle scenes (which, in contrast to some commentors claims, do take up a good 15% of screentime)- they look like look like some some History Club from your local high school recreating a medieval siege, although the kids would no doubt put more passion into it. I will give Rivette credit, however, for picturing a side of Joan left out by other movies: that of a petulant, naive, and narcissistic adolescent (played by a woman all too clearly at least twice the age of the character she is supposed to portray) obviously unable to understand her place within the movement she is helping to create or the world existing outside her own passions. Joan's outrage at her own soldiers swearing and astonishment at the enemy for their lack of respect and obedience to her are jarringly spontaneous and believable notes (you suddenly realize such moments must naturally have occurred)in an otherwise uninvolving historical "representation". Unfortunately they also serve to point out precisely what is not addressed on screen -what made Joan SPECIAL? I must say I also continued to be puzzled and frustrated by certain foreign film lovers who equate tedium and lack of dramatic involvement with "artistry" and "seriousness". Does this film really increase our understanding or involvement with the subject? Or with anything for that matter? 4/10.
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