Adapted from historical records of the trial and featuring a remarkable cast of non-professional actors, led by Florence Carrez in the title role, the film relays Joan’s relentless interrogation and persecution by her captors in a direct, almost documentary-like manner.
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Bresson is excellent, always, but it is impossible to not compare this to Dreyer's PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, also solely focused on her trial, which is one of the great masterpieces of cinema. This is essentially a re-make of that silent film. Better that the story be told with mostly images, all the talking detracts from the story instead of adding to it. The transcripts of the trial are available for anyone to read.
The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962), with its few settings, minimal action, and plenty of dialogue, reads more like a play than a film. Still, it retains Bresson’s particular formal style; in many ways, the extreme minimalism makes one more acutely aware of Bresson’s filmic tendencies. Read More: http://aestheticsofthemind.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/the-trial-of-joan-of-arc-proces-de-jeanne-darc/
the only way that bresson could get away with dismissing dreyer's earlier film, would be if he topped it. and good thing he did. it is bare, stripped back and simple, but also a masterpiece. the non actors are all amazing, you could hardly tell the difference. his editing and composition is a master at the top. when it comes to religion in cinema, bresson must be the king.
Trial of the Joan of Arc exactly contrasts Dreyer's Passion of the Joan of Arc. The movie runs at one hour approximately, but feels like 2 hours, due to having only the vital elements and being free of all unnecessary parts. 5 stars out of 5.
on the scale of the running time, this might be Bresson's minor work. but this is definitely not his worst. The Trial of Joan of Arc capable of showing, in the name of simplicity, one of the most important trial ever happened. No such unimportant scene. No unnecesary dialogue, or extended scenes. This is Bresson at his most efficient
Faith is explored so powerfully in this film, and it makes you think long about the difference between believing in God as a sole force, and following the Church's beliefs: Are the priests images of God? Relics,Icons: Are they truly symbols of God's presence in our life?
Can religion leed you to redemption? Does it save or doom you?
Robert Bresson responded to what he called "grotesque buffooneries" of Carl Dreyer's THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC with this sparse, minimalist take on Joan's trial and execution, and in the process sapped all the energy and emotion out of her sacrifice. Dreyer's film is an overwhelming cinematic experience, Bresson's feels almost rote and truncated. Minimalism is a legitimate approach, but here it feels arrogant.
Sometimes it can be quite difficult to see the greatness of Bresson. His version of Jeanne D'Arc is simple, probably transcendent. But is that necessarily a good thing? This film is quite bautiful, but also slight. Too simple, maybe? Absolutely nothing compared to Dreyer. C+