I struggled with this set. I must firstly be honest that I’ve never fully felt taken by the French New Wave and only a few have resonated with me deeply. This film has fine ambitions, to tell a time-old tale truthfully and minimally, trusting the story to carry it. Unfortunately that left me a bit bored and strugglig to find a takeaway. There’s little more then what the story suggests.
Elaborated historical chronicle from a brilliant director. I'm more touched by what Bresson offered on the subject but this one is clearly valuable. Sandrine Bonnaire delivers a beautiful performance. Still in the top three as best films about this national hero.
Rivette followed up his masterful 'La Bele Noiseuse' with this epic length take on the Jeanne d'arc tale. Sandrine Bonnaire is quite earnest in the role with able support from the large cast and the cinematography by Lubtchansky is quite extraordinary but the amateurish staging of the battles sink the film in the later stages. The second entry is the more powerful of the two despite it's inferiority to Dreyer.
Rivette: well suited to tell the story of a pious woman imprisoned, persecuted, and burned at the stake. The story of a pious woman bravely leading the French army to victory? This would not appear to be in his wheelhouse. He takes the outdoor community theater, late-Rossellini approach. An extremely materialist take. The bodies trump the spirit. And, once again, alas, Jeanne is portrayed by a woman of nearly thirty.
I appreciate the attention to historical fact, Bonnaire's grounded portrayal of Jeanne, the rich, decadent umbers and ochres... Less so the weird interview-style plot device thing (was that supposed to be Brechtian?), the awkward low-budget battles, and the inevitable drag in a 3-hour film. Not a favourite, but well worth the watch.
Bonnaire is compelling as Joan, but the pace of the film is decidedly languid. It does, however, feel like it speaks some truth to the times and how life was at that particular time. And when Bonnaire speaks to one soldier about her connection to God, and he takes a surprised step back because he suddenly believes her, it's Bonnaire's speaking as Joan that makes us believe her too.