Procès de Jeanne d'Arc (Trial of Joan of Arc) (1962)
Movie InfoCharacteristically breaking with tradition, director Robert Bresson presents a realistic, unique view of the life and death of Joan of Arc. Using a script 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. With impeccable historical accuracy Bresson re-creates the story of the peasant girl who, after leading an unsuccessful revolt against the government, was brought to trial, convicted of heresy, and burned as a witch. However, Bresson shows Joan (Florence Carrez) as a woman more sophisticated and calculating and less naive than she has normally been represented. His Joan, while more real, is no less heroic than the traditional Joan. This unusual approach is characteristic of this unique director who defies classification as either a traditional or "new wave" filmmaker while being highly respected for pursuing his own individual style and vision. Robert Bresson has been called a poet and philosopher with a camera, preoccupied with the idea of predestination and spiritual grace. In Proces de Jeanne d'Arc, as with all of his films, Bresson imprints his own personal signature. The film is tightly constructed and stripped to the bare essence of the material. Bresson has made only a handful of feature films, yet he is one of the most discussed and revered figures in cinema, creative, original and unique. ~ Linda Rasmussen, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Procès de Jeanne d'Arc (Trial of Joan of Arc)
Bresson's treatment of the Trial of Joan is characteristically ascetic; but it is also quintessential history, unique and timeless, graced with a master's touch.
Using non-actors, there are no false dramatics. This unveils another side of the oft-filmed tale, and the state and church politics of that century.
A new way to access and appreciate history's most remarkable adolescent visionary.
The tension generated by juxtaposing such humiliation with the serenely beautiful text (from the transcription of the trial) resolves itself in the unforgettable final image.
As much as I love Bresson's works, I'm rarely caught up in the sweep of his drama. The drama comes for me only at the conclusion - and then lingers for days after.
The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962) might be my favorite Robert Bresson film, and Florence Delay, who plays Joan and who went on to become a respected novelist in France, my favorite Bresson lead.
Suspended like the protagonist between sanctity and pride, undaunted yet utterly naked
The purpose of Bresson was not to destroy the myth of Joan of Arc; what he did was reveal the processes that helped to create a legend.
Powerful portrait of a saint - and the attacks on humans by a corrupt society.
A film that is more rewarding to recall than to watch, but one with undeniable impact and power.
Audience Reviews for Procès de Jeanne d'Arc (Trial of Joan of Arc)
I didn't know a word about this case before plunging onto this movie. As against my expectations, my ignorance didn't turn out to be in the favor of movie. It assumes that we have the background knowledge and focuses only on trial. Maybe people in general have enough historical knowledge, but unfortunately I'm an exceptional case. I thought that the movie would be interesting as it's based on the transcripts of the case, but except for a few dialogues, it was quiet boring. Even 65 minutes seemed too long to sit through. I appreciate the director's intentions, but not much the film. Needless to say, it serves as an informative piece of work to an extent, but not entertainment.More
This Robert Bresson film is reportedly taken from the transcripts from the Joan of Arc's trial. And it's a well-done film that suffers from one major flaw -- I saw Karl Dreyer's version of Joan's story PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC first. Florence Carrez portrays Joan with stoic determination. She knows she's right and no one will change her mind. Because of this portrayal, the scene where Joan signs the confession riings a bit false. On the other hand, Renee Maria Falconetti's portrayal is of a terrified 19-year-old girl, being held in prison for her beliefs that seem so right and true to her, and totally unable to comprehend how and why she is being portrayed as evil, when everything she does is for God and her country. Her performance is heartbreaking. Carrez' in-your-face attitude is probably more historically accurate -- Joan WAS a warrior after all -- but I like Falconetti better. And I just like Dreyer better as a director than Bresson. Bresson's direction is spare and minimalist, and it leaves me a bit cold. Dreyer's work never fails to move me, especially in the way he gets such real emotion out of his actors. I'll admit to being brought to tears by more than one of his films.
Bresson claims that he made his Joan more of a modern 1960's woman so younger people would identify with her, He gave her a somewhat modern hairstyle and wardrobe. Once again, I prefer Dreyer's Joan, who was even stripped of her hair for the role. One good thing about seeing both films is that I now have a bigger picture of what Joan went through during her trial. Dreyer also used the original transcripts, and the dialogue reflects that, matching word for word in several places. But in many cases they concentrated on different sections of the transcriptions, so seeing Bresson's film filled in the gaps from the Dreyer film.
At just 60 odd minutes the premise of this film doesn't push itself. Yes it is mostly people sitting round and talking but the sublime craft rises it to fantastic heights. A certain amount of emotionless performances make this blunt and to the point. It's a real dissection of Joan herself. Unfortunately this is no Passion of Joan of Arc but it is still a brilliant piece of cinema.More
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