2016 Blind Spot Series: The Passion of Joan of Arc


What I knew going in: No much, other than it's frequently raved about.

Jeanne d'Arc (Maria Falconetti) is on trial for heresy since she says she has visions of God during the 100 Year War. I'm sure you know the story of how she becomes a martyr and is burned at the stake. This film focuses on her trial.

The DVD gave me two options of watching this. The Silent version and the Voices of Light opera version. I decided to go out of my comfort zone and stick with the silent version, which I started to regret about half way through the film.

Sometimes, movies just aren't for you, and The Passion of Joan of Arc is one of those for me. I don't completely oppose silent movies, but I don't think drama works well with that gimmick. Slap stick comedy, sure, but a film like this started to feel unintentionally campy at times. Falconetti is 95% brilliant in this movie. The pain on her face is so powerful, but there's that 5% where her eyes go a bit too wide and she looks like she's seen Frankenstein's Monster. It takes away from the beauty of her performance. All of the men, the judges and the priests are terrible. They're over the top (and those awful hair cuts don't help) and it was really hard for me to take them seriously.

I think elements of this movie work wonderfully, but over all I just couldn't get into it, no matter how much I wanted to like it. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "When the mission that God has entrusted to me is over, I will again dress as a woman." - Jeanne d'Arc (Maria Falconetti)


10 comments:

  1. Oh no! I love this movie and was enthralled with the performances especially Falconetti. I saw it in a church with the music done live by Chorus Niagara. The imagery was stunning and her acting was superb.

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    1. I think the opera would've helped. I should've chosen that option. lol

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  2. For me, this is one of the finest films ever made. Sorry you didn't enjoy it. There's another great film about Joan of Arc which I actually prefer more than this one, believe it or not,. It's The Trial of Joan of Arc by Robert Bresson.

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    1. I threw it on my Blind Spot list because of your review last year, I wish it would've worked for me to. Maybe I'll check out that one instead.

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  3. Wow...I'm not sure this is for me, either, but I'd be interested in giving it a shot.

    At first, because...you know, I'm a moron, I thought this post was about the Mila Jovovich flick and I was ready to laugh my ass off at what you'd say. Unless...you liked that movie...then, uh, I guess I'd be the one laughing.

    At myself.

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    1. I did not know Milla did a Joan of Arc movie, I just looked that up on IMDb right now. I'm not sure I could take that seriously, I'm so used to seeing her be quite the badass. She'd kill everyone in her trial.

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  4. I actually liked this one, funnily enough. Of course, I saw it with music, though my understanding is that the silent version is the one Dreyer preferred (that's why the option is given on the DVD). I've also been told it was very thoroughly researched, to the point where Dreyer managed to get access to the original transcript of the trial and use it as a guide.

    There was a real sense of hopelessness to the entire situation, and Joan's struggle to remain strong even though she knows she is doomed was shown in incredible detail. I found it remarkable how Maria Falconetti could present so much emotion just through her expressions.

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    1. The sense of hopelessness is very apparent,I should've touched on that more, but Falconetti, while she hit so many right notes also missed pretty hard a few times. She looked ridiculously over the top in a few shots and it threw me from the moment.

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  5. I liked it, but I can see how not everyone would gravitate towards this without any music. The acting style is different to what we are used to seeing nowadays. Silent film acting was often over the top, using their body language a lot. I've never seen a character cry that much in a movie before. I guess it just wasn't for you, and that's fair enough.

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    1. I think my main problem was I've never seen any silent dramas. Only silent comedies where over the top performances work, it just felt so out of place to me.

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No seriously, post one. I need attention.