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Series / Joan of Arc

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Joan of Arc is a 1999 historical biopic Mini Series in two parts directed by Christian Duguay. It is a joint production of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Alliance Atlantis Communications.

It tells the story of Joan of Arc, the 15th century peasant girl who heard the voice of God and turned the tide of The Hundred Years War in favor of King Charles VII of France.

Joan is portrayed by Leelee Sobieski, whose performance was nominated for an Emmy Award. The star-studded cast also includes Peter O'Toole as Bishop Pierre Cauchon, Chad Willett as Jean de Metz, Neil Patrick Harris as Dauphin/King Charles VII of France, Peter Strauss as La Hire, Powers Boothe as Jacques of Arc, Olympia Dukakis as Mother Babette, Ted Atherton as Jean d'Estivet, Robert Loggia as Father Monet, Jacqueline Bisset as Isabelle of Arc, Maximilian Schell as Brother Jean le Maistre, Shirley MacLaine as Madame de Beaurevoir and Rick Warden as the English Chaplain.

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See also the dueling production released the same year, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc.


Tropes:

  • Artistic License – History:
    • Joan was executed on May 30, 1431 but in this movie snow is seen during the execution.
    • Joan's comrades are also seen trying to rescue her right before she's burned at Rouen, which didn't happen in real life.
    • Cauchon is introduced as part of Charles's entourage...even though he must later preside at Joan's trial, which makes very little sense politically.
  • Burn the Witch!: This is a depiction of Joan of Arc's life after all.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade:
    • The film goes for a very saintly portrayal of Joan; she's reluctant to attack the English at the Tourelles and must be ordered to do so. In reality, records state that she was constantly goading her comrades on in the attack. There are also fictitious scenes such as Joan setting up a soup kitchen and her organising public works projects to help displaced peasants rebuild their lives.
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    • Charles VII is also given a very sympathetic portrayal, even trying to tell Joan she doesn't have to go on the expedition that results in her capture; and it's Joan herself who responds that whatever happens is the will of God.
  • Important Haircut: This one happens with Joan cutting her hair in the reflection in the river, and the hair being carried away by the current to symbolise how she won't turn her back on the mission. Her hair partly grows back in captivity and is past her shoulders by the time of her execution.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: When confering a singular honor on the titular heroine, King Charles VII remarks on the seemingly strange idea that birth and lineage are often held up as more important than a person's character, but as king he is able to ignore that convention and thus award Joan the honor due her loyalty and service.

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