Film / The Passion of Joan of Arc

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A classic silent film from 1928, by Carl Theodor Dreyer. Generally considered one of the greatest films ever made (to the point of being named the ninth greatest film of all time in the 2012 Sight & Sound Critics' Poll), as well as considered to have one of the greatest filmed performances ever, given by Maria Falconettinote .

Joan of Arc is put on trial by the English. They attempt to get her to back down from her claims of holy visions. She refuses, and is eventually burned at the stake. The film's plotline is highly conventional, being adapted straight from the actual records of Joan of Arc's trial, and essentially serving as a highly condensed version of the real event. The film's real strengths come in the form of Dreyer's excellent direction, Falconetti's performance, and the fact that you'll barely be able to see either of those things though all of your tears.

You can find it on YouTube, but if you can, shell out the cash for the DVD or seek it out on cable. The current version is only 82 minutes, but be sure to mark out two full hours on your PDA; odds are you'll need some quiet time after.

This film provides examples of:

  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Joan is very pretty in a innocent sort of way, while her tormentors are often downright repulsive.
  • Being Good Sucks: Boy, does it ever.
  • Book Dumb: Joan can't read and needs help signing her "confession". She's also uneducated in theological minutia, which, in both real life and the film, is what leads to her conviction.
  • Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: Joan pleads for her body to be buried on consecrated ground. In real life, her ashes were thrown in a river.
  • Burn the Witch!!: Joan's ultimate fate.
  • Break the Cutie: The ultimate example.
  • Corrupt Church: The Bishop of Beauvais. Averted by several of the Priests, who try to help her.
  • Disturbed Doves: Joan watches the birds fly off from the church roof as she is being burned.
  • Dutch Angle: Used by Dreyer several times in the film, usually to give the judges a more sinister apperance.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Joan's attitude towards being burned.
  • Fainting: Joan faints when shown the brutal torture instruments intended to extract her confession.
  • Fragile Flower: Joan herself.
  • Famous Last Words: Joan cries out "Jesus!" when a monk holds a crucifix in her view as she is being burned.
  • Freakier Than Fiction: This film was miraculously saved from complete oblivion by a spare copy kept in a closet in a Norwegian insane asylum. How strange is that?
  • From Bad to Worse: Joan's situation.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: In this case, good monk/bad monk, used in her interrogation.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Joan has shiny, beatific Gray Eyes throughout the entire film.
  • Good Is Impotent: Joan is powerless to prevent her fate throughout the film.
  • Grail in the Garbage: Was thought to be a lost movie until a nearly perfect print was found in an insane asylum.
  • The Hero Dies
  • Horned Hairdo: One of the judges squeezes his hair into two points.
  • I Die Free: Joan's death.
  • Kangaroo Court: Joan's trial.
  • Kill the Cutie: Joan's death.
  • The Late Middle Ages
  • Lima Syndrome: Not enough to save Joan's life though.
  • Locked in the Dungeon: Joan's imprisonment.
  • Lost in Character: There's a popular legend that Renee Jeanne "Maria" Falconetti had a nervous breakdown after completing filming and ended up in an insane asylum, convinced she really was Joan of Arc. In truth she suffered from mental problems over most of her life (to the point that she eventually killed herself in 1946), and she simply preferred stage acting rather than films.
  • Jeanne d'Archétype: Joan of Arc is the Ur-Example, but this film, by itself, does not show the trope. Instead, it's more like a Deconstruction Played for Drama — after breaking the laws of man in the name of God, the brilliant and brave visionary girl is captured by the enemy, nearly broken by interrogation, and finally, brutally executed.
  • Messianic Archetype: The movie is ''The Passion of Joan of Arc'' for a reason. Many scenes in the film echo The Bible, from questioning by religous authorities to the English soldiers dressing Joan in a "thorny crown."
  • Mission from God: What Joan believes herself to be on.
  • Not So Stoic: Even one of the guards weeps to see Joan burned.
  • One Film Actor: Lead actress Maria Falconetti came from the stage first to act in La Comtesse de Somerive and then deliver one of cinema's most celebrated performances, then quit the film industry.
  • Public Execution: Which quickly leads to full-scale rioting.
  • Prayer Pose: Joan, upon receiving communion.
  • Security Cling: Not quite a cling, but Joan tries to hold the hand of a priest while suffering a fever. He pulls it away.
  • Shamed by a Mob: The people witnessing Joan's execution weep in sympathy, and a riot breaks out when one shouts "You have burned a saint!"
  • Shown Their Work: The dialogue is all the actual court records of what Joan of Arc is known to have said at her trial. She's amazing.
  • Single Tear: One of the monks cries a single tear when Joan recants her confession, as he knows it will lead to her death.
  • Spiteful Spit: One of the church officials spits on Joan during her trial.
  • Tears of Fear: Nearly constant on part of Joan during the movie.
  • Tears of Remorse: Joan, after signing her confession, which she then recants.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Joan's hair is cropped to stubble on-camera. It counts as a real-life example too, as Falconetti apparently begged Dreyer not to have to do it.
  • Villain Respect: By the end, it is clear that some of the clergy are rather impressed with her courage and are feeling at least some sympathy for her.
  • Waif Prophet: Joan herself.
  • Wall Slump: Joan slumps when she's being burned.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Joan herself, who wears men's clothes. She is grilled about it.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: It's not stated in the dialogue — it's all in Joan's face when the priest asks her who taught her how to say her prayers, and she answers, "My mother."


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/ThePassionOfJoanOfArc