86 – The Passion of Joan of Arc

Welcome to The Best Movies I’ve Never Seen! This is the part of the blog where I work my way through 100 films I’ve never seen that are generally considered to be great. You’re invited to watch along with me if you can find a copy or find it streaming. So grab some popcorn and let’s get started!

The Passion of Joan of Arc

1927

Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer

Quick synopsis… In this silent film, Joan of Arc braves the threat of torture to stand fast for her beliefs.

  • Silent and French… okay, let’s do this.
  • I’m not entirely familiar with the story of Joan of Arc.
  • So there are a lot of things coming up in this film that I wasn’t aware of.
  • For example… I had no idea how young this girl was.
  • At the start of her trial, she states that she’s 19… though she’s not sure that’s really how old she is.
  • Joan is on trial for heresy and is questioned by French clergy who are loyal to the invading English.
  • She believes that God has chosen her to save France from the English.
  • These clergy try to manipulate Joan into saying something that will incriminate herself or break her faith.
  • Hang in there, Joan!
  • There are a couple of men in the court who support Joan, believing her to be a saint.
  • But their support isn’t enough.
  • Joan is threatened with torture and being burned at the stake.
  • This intimidates her into signing a confession, leading to a sentence of life in prison.
  • But once her head is shaven in prison, she realizes she has been unfaithful and demands to be brought before the judges again so she can withdraw her confession.
  • Throughout her struggle, Joan has won more and more people to her side, believing what she has said is truth.
  • However, she is still burned at the stake.
  • Crowds of people gather to witness the execution and people rise up against the soldiers because of their belief that they have executed a saint.
  • The cinematography in this film is interesting.
  • I’m sure it’s been remastered at some point (possibly multiple times) over the years, but for a film from 1927, the imagery is incredibly detailed.
  • And this has to be purposeful on the part of the director and/or cinematographer.
  • There are so many close up shots of faces, both of Joan and her many accusers.
  • It’s beautiful and unsettling at the same time.
  • Overall, I don’t think this is a movie I’ll be watching on repeat, but it is haunting and moving nonetheless.
  • Having now seen The Passion of Joan of Arc, it currently ranks at 1,268 out of 2,252 movies on my personal Flickchart list.

Have you ever seen The Passion of Joan of Arc? If so, what did you think about it? Let me know down in the comments! If you’re interested in watching, it’s available through HBO Max as part of the Criterion Collection. Next week’s film is The Handmaiden, a movie about which I know absolutely nothing. Should be fun.

6 thoughts on “86 – The Passion of Joan of Arc

  1. Pingback: What Are the Best Movies I’ve Never Seen? | The Confusing Middle

  2. I can’t believe this movie ranks so low on your list! In my opinion, this is one of the greatest movies ever made, up there with Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast, another silent classic. Have you seen that one? If not, I urge you to check it out. All the best! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

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