1429. While the war between France and England (the Hundred Years War) appeared settled in 1420, in England's favour, the death of King Henry V of England reignites it. England occupies large areas of France and appears set to take the whole of it. Into this moment of crisis rides legendary Joan of Arc, a teenage girl who claims to be lead by divine visions.Written by
At the Joan's sister funeral mother puts her hand on Joan's shoulder. We clearly can see her perfectly manicured nails, which is highly unlikely for a peasant woman in XV century. See more »
1420. Henry V, King of England, and Charles VI, King of France, sign the Treaty of Troyes. The treaty states that the kingdom of France will belong to England upon the king's death. But the two kings die a few months apart. Henry VI is the new king of England and of France, but he is only a few months old. Charles VII, the Dauphin of France, has no intention to abandon his kingdom to a child nor even to his tutor, the Duke of Bedford. A bloody war begins and the English, along with...
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The European release was 10 minutes longer than the US theatrical version, which omits, among others, the scene where Joan's virginity is tested before the court of King Charles VII. The longer version has been released in the USA on DVD. See more »
There are many deviations from the accepted facts of Jeanne d'Arc's life as set out in her trial documentation and the writings of the time. This said, the central question of whether she was a saint, an inspired lunatic, wholly mentally ill, or simply a headstrong girl determined to grab her chances while she could is well asked. Many of the comments here assert that Besson makes it clear that the Maid was simply mentally ill, yet I read the film as deeply ambivalent about what was going on. Were her visions the hallucinations of a schizophrenic? Were they given by God? What's the difference? More questions are asked: Why does an omnipotent, omniscient, all-compassionate deity allow terrible things to happen? What is the meaning of kingship - to own or to serve? What is the difference between taking the lives of individuals and killing en masse? What's the difference between Christianity and the earthly institutions of that religion? Where does conviction end and fanaticism begin?
Jovavich's Jeanne is plagued by the difference between her idea of utter submission to God and the consequences of doing so; by doubt over the veracity of her visions; and by the gap between her ideals of the divine rights of kings and realpolitik. She is constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown - is this a manifestation of her mental illness, or of her "burning for God"? And where's the difference between the two?
The film raises more questions than it answers, and that's as it should be. It is something of a shame that Besson's film takes liberties with the facts as we understand them (though history is more often about our interpretation of events than the events themselves), but in terms of raising important questions on the nature of faith, it succeeds beyond measure.
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