THE TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC
$7 Member $12.50 Regular
(1962) Back and forth from the Saint’s cell to repeated interrogations (with dialogue taken from the actual transcripts), this is Bresson at his most understated and brief, but with a devastating progression to the stake. (His Joan, 20-year-old college student Florence Carrez, was elected to the Académie Française in 2000.)
"With its memorably straightforward performance by Parisian college student Florence Carrez, this rarely screened film may be the most extreme example of Bresson’s form of reverse sympathetic magic. In stripping the story of this legendary heroine down to a legalistic procedural — focusing entirely on what was said and done — he forcefully makes a case for Joan as an uncompromised (and possibly divine) martyr to moronic bureaucracy and petty politics."
– Andrew O'Hehir, Salon
"The most underrated of the director's 13 features. Carrez, a 20-year-old university student at the time, emerges as one of the most perfect of the director's 'models': a steadfast teenage saint whose stoic countenance is punctured once, at the film's beginning, by a burst of tears."
– Melissa Anderson, Village Voice
“An essay in sado-masochistic voyeurism. Joan is manacled, spied at through peepholes, genitally scrutinized, and forced (by the director) to squat on a wooden stool as if on a toilet seat... 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.”
– Gilbert Adair, Time Out (London)
"Perhaps the most extreme instance of Bresson's dedramatizing technique, exercised here in a rigorous treatment of its subject that couldn't be further from Dreyer's handling of the same subject... As one of the most infrequently screened works of one of the greatest filmmakers, it warrants a look."
– Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader