7.5/10
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The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962)

Procès de Jeanne d'Arc (original title)
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 »

Director:

Robert Bresson

Writer:

Robert Bresson
Reviews
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Florence Delay Florence Delay ... Jeanne d'Arc (as Florence Carrez)
Jean-Claude Fourneau Jean-Claude Fourneau ... Bishop Cauchon
Roger Honorat Roger Honorat ... Jean Beaupere
Marc Jacquier Marc Jacquier ... Jean Lemaitre
Jean Gillibert Jean Gillibert ... Jean de Chatillon
Michel Herubel Michel Herubel ... Isambert de la Pierre - French Monk
André Régnier André Régnier ... D'Estivet
Arthur Le Bau Arthur Le Bau ... Jean Massieu
Marcel Darbaud Marcel Darbaud ... Nicolas de Houppeville
Philippe Dreux Philippe Dreux ... Martin Ladvenu - French Monk
Paul-Robert Mimet Paul-Robert Mimet ... Guillaume Erard
Gérard Zingg Gérard Zingg ... Jean-Lohier
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Storyline

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 <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

15 March 1963 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Trial of Joan of Arc See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An almost completely verbatim piece of cinema. See more »

Goofs

Carpenters building Joan's execution platform use modern, machine-made nails. See more »

Quotes

Jeanne d'Arc: Pray for me. I forgive the evil done me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Les échos du cinéma: Episode #1.48 (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

Form & Content
21 September 1999 | by tom-420See all my reviews

Bresson's film is quite extraordinary. An entirely static camera, a repertoire of what seems like only a handful of angles, and no music save the unnerving thumping of medieval drums at the beginning and end, all add up to a form restrained to the point of stasis. The movement of the film comes entirely from the words and from the faces. And from the rigorous choice of those few camera angles. It is a moot point as to whether or not it is relevant that the script is composed almost entirely of transcripts from the actual trial. However, the viewer armed with this knowledge must surely be privy to an extraordinary sense of time-travel - a restrained, respectful and highly spiritual journey back into the "dark ages". There is necessarily an inescapable sense of people hundreds of years dead speaking through the mouths of the (non-professional) actors, whose limited but affecting range fits perfectly with the curious juxtaposition of past and present, of cinema and grace.

As has been pointed out many times before, one of the primary differences between Bresson's film and Dreyer's La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc is in their formal delineation between good and evil; where Dreyer uses light and shadow to point up the difference, in the Bresson film the contrast is more subtle, resting, it would seem, mainly on the fact that the Bishop Cauchon is shut exclusively head on, whilst Jeanne commands a variety of oblique camera angles. But the subtlety of the camera also brings out a fantastic sense of time, space, and place. The numerous close-ups of period shoes are all we need to have the era set firmly in our minds; the medium-shots - and complete absence of anything like a long shot - simultaneously reinforce the claustrophobia of Jeanne's predicament, and focus our attention on her, and that which falls under her gaze. The one notable exception to this is the short series of shots while she burns on the pyre, of the white doves fluttering above the canvas awning, suitable parallels with the absent characters of the Saints Catharine and Margaret, whose presence is felt and whose names recur throughout the trial. A simple film, formally, perhaps, but only in the sense that everything is pared down to a minimum, and the choices are only made with the greatest of care and most rigorous of logic. The words and the faces do not need embellishment. They need attention and simplicity, in the same way that the words uttered by the real Joan of Arc are simple and unadorned. A masterful marriage of form and content.


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