To modern audiences, raised on films where emotion is conveyed by dialogue and action more than by faces, a film like "The Passion of Joan of Arc” is an unsettling experience--so intimate we fear we will discover more secrets than we desire. Our sympathy is engaged so powerfully with Joan that Dreyer's visual methods--his angles, his cutting, his closeups--don't play like stylistic choices, but like the fragments of Joan's experience. Exhausted, starving, cold, in constant fear, only 19 when she died, she lives in a nightmare where the faces of her tormentors rise up like spectral demons.
Just read Zakaton's comment re: Joan of Arc. His opinion is one wherein he has clearly begun with a judgement of Joan before referring to the facts.
Joan of Arc was born into a peasant family on the fringes of French held territory in what is now known as the Vosges department in North West France. Joan's village itself also felt the violence of the 100 Years War. Domremy suffered from an English attack in 1426 and her family was forced to take shelter in a nearby town. She was a simple child of deep religious faith, even exceptional, ... Read more →