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.
Director: Robert Bresson Writer: Robert Bresson Stars: Florence Delay, Jean-Claude Fourneau, Roger Honorat |See full cast & crew
Jeanne d’Arc was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.
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Joan of Arc – Jeanne d’Arc (1412 – 1431)
Saint of the Roman Catholic church and French national heroine
via the Joan of Arc Web Project
Saint Jeanne d’Arc, The Maid of Orleans is a recognized Saint of the Roman Catholic Church.
Although she was excommunicated and burned at the stake for heresy by local officials in 1431, central Church officials would later nullify her excommunication, declaring her a martyr unjustly executed for a secular vendetta.
Her legend would grow from there, leading to her beatification in 1909 and her canonization in 1920.
The details of the life of Jeanne d’Arc form a biography which is unique among the world’s biographies in one respect: It is the only story of a human life which comes to us under oath, the only one which comes to us from the witness-stand.
Of no other trial of the fifteenth century have we a report approaching this in detail and accuracy
This trail, which took place before an English-backed church court in Rouen, France in the first half of the year 1431 was, in the minds of many people, one of the most significant and moving trials ever conducted in human history.
The world had seen nothing like her since Christ.
More at the Joan of Arc Web Project
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IMPORTED 35mm PRINT! │ One of film’s giants, Robert Bresson was master of a spare, rigorous, intensely metaphysical cinema (famously called “transcendental” by Paul Schrader) that explored, with rare poetry and purity, the human struggle for grace and redemption. His startling, searing take on one of cinema’s most filmed stories is based — like Dreyer’s 1929 silent masterpiece,The Passion of Joan of Arc — on the actual transcripts of Joan’s trial, here distilled into the very essence of the spare Bressonian aesthetic, and focusing with unsettling power on Joan’s physical humiliation. (British critic Gilbert Adair has described the film as “Bresson’s essay in sadomasochistic voyeurism.”) Trial of Joan of Arc won a Jury Special Prize at Cannes in 1962, and was much admired by the filmmakers of French New Wave, and by Tarkovsky, who cited it as a formative influence. “Perhaps the ultimate expression of Bresson’s unique cinematic voice…In the austere documenting of Joan’s imprisonment and trial, physical objects — chains, stones, wall, windows — become metaphors for her spiritual isolation and sounds — the scratching of a pen during her hearing — contribute to the minimalist musicality of the experience” (James Monaco). “For the first time in film history, one feels that Joan was really burnt” (Richard Roud). B&W, 35mm, in French with English subtitles. 65 mins.
TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC
A FILM BY ROBERT BRESSON
1962 / drama / France / original title : PROCÈS DE JEANNE D’ARC / 64’ / status : completed / French / long feature-film / French catalog
A realistic, unique view of the life and death of Joan of Arc. Based on the actual transcript notes taken during her trial, Bresson focuses on the psychological and physical torture that Joan had to endure, showing how these techniques
were used to break her resolve and cause her to eventually recant her faith.
Want more? Here’s the Transcript of the Trial
Joan’s Trial of Condemnation 1431