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The Trial of Joan of Arc
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The Trial of Joan of Arc

1h 5m
A reconstruction of the trial of Joan of Arc (based entirely on the transcripts of the real-life trial)... (imdb)
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Bresson's stripped-down style is in full effect here, complete with his famous close-ups of feet and attention to manual processes. The obvious comparison to make is The Passion of Joan of Arc. Dreyer's film has an undeniable beauty to it, but as a fan of Bresson's austerity, I have to give his version the edge. I greatly prefer Delay's performance to Falconetti's. Delay brings a dignity and a genuine piety to the role, where Falconetti just makes her seem like an unstable nutball.
Successfully conveys battle of wits between persecutor and victim, but, since it is also clear that the process is rigged, all the arguing tends towards being moot. Bresson wants to correct what he perceives as Dreyer’s overdramatisation, giving Joan back her powers of reasoning, but his narrowing of the focus to juridical and theological disputation loses the uncanny feeling of a life at stake and a cosmos in turmoil: Rivette’s JOAN THE MAID is perhaps a kind of correction of this correction.
Trial makes the Bressonian method particularly apparent because of how it contrasts with other Joan of Arc movies, particularly Dreyer's rather expressionist one. As usual, Bresson sacrifices dramatic impact, authenticity, and more, in order to achieve his desired effect of "modeling" rather than enacting the story. The Joan of Arc trial stripped of almost any semblance of expression is certainly interesting to behold, but don't expect it to knock your socks off.
Few subjects could be more appropriate for Bresson's aesthetic than Joan of Arc, whose unwavering principle and faith in the face of religious persecution fits in snugly with such films as Diary of a Country Priest or Au Hasard Balthazar. Delay is excellent, stoic and dignified with just a touch of righteous anger and tragic acceptance. I'd put this right up against Dreyer's take, frankly.
My favorite Bresson film, if only because it's one where his style not only works with the story but enhances it, making Joan just the right mix of stoic and vulnerable. A great performance from Delay and very good choice of shots make this a very effective look at martyrdom. The last 10 minutes are especially excellent.
Avg Percentile 65.56% from 409 total ratings


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Cast & Info

Director: Robert_BressonRobert Bresson
Written By: Robert_BressonRobert Bresson
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 1h 5m
Languages: EnglishFrench
Country: France
AKA: Procès de Jeanne d'Arc

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Submitted byjuanlarsJuanLars on 26 Mar 2006
Poster supplied byicarusIcarus
Last modified by:jpfergusonJPFerguson on 18 Aug 2023