The Trial of Joan of Arc

Robert Bresson's film follows Joan of Arc's prolonged interrogation through to her death. The dialogue consists entirely of the trial transcript, reduced to its essentials; the visuals are austere, consisting mainly of medium shots of Joan and her judges, intercut with extreme close-ups of objects, hands, feet. Out of this icy surface Bresson creates an experience full of the mystery and the drama of this woman's existence. Bresson: “Joan's replies . . . serve not so much to give information about present or past events as to provoke significant reactions on Joan's face, the movements of her soul. . . . I see her with the eyes of a believer. I believe in the marvelous world whose doors she opens and closes. . . . She convinces us of a world at the farthest reach of our faculties. She enters this supernatural world but closes the door behind her.”

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