I have four French films in my top ten. The other two are Léon Morin, Priest (1961) and Dialogue with the Carmelites (1960). All have English subtitles. I never expected any French films to be near the top.
As pointed out by Bresson, there were no paintings of Joan done during her lifetime. He used the actual trial transcript as well as the transcript of her rehabilitation trial years later.
Bishop Pierre Cauchon (1371-1442) was the trial judge. He and all the other clerics there were anglophiles. England had occupied the northern part of France at the time. If I had been pope, I would have hauled his ass to the Vatican and flogged him and excommunicated him. Didn’t happen. Cauchon died of a heart attack at 71. They none of them liked the fact that she dressed in men’s clothing during the trial but did protect her from the lustful jailers. A group of women verified her virginity. Joan (1412-1431) was 19 when she was burned at the stake.
The questions put to Joan were very clever, but her answers were cleverer, and some questions she refused to answer. At one point, the interrogator says, “… at this trial …”, and she says, “Is this a trial?” She got hand signals from her priest-lawyer on which questions to answer, and a couple of times he flashed a small, covert smile after her answers. No one was allowed to advise her.
The court at her rehabilitation trial declared her innocent on July 7, 1456, by annulling her sentence and declaring that she had been tried on ‘false articles of accusation’. The articles and Cauchon’s sentence were to be torn out of a copy of the proceedings and burnt by the public executioner at Rouen.
My rating of the film is five stars. I would classify it as realism. I prefer films on saints rather than Christ for two reasons: 1) it is impossible to portray divinity and 2) it is too much to ask an actor to be the face of Christ. I see His face in the Eucharist and will see the real face when, hopefully, I go to heaven.
I prefer realism over sickeningly sweet films.
This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: The author died in 1860, so this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years of fewer.