Revisiting in its own way the story of Joan of Arc, the French filmmaker Bruno Dumont offers a meditative film and unclassifiable that will not leave anyone indifferent.
Winner of the prestigious prix Louis-Dulluc (the equivalent of the Goncourt prize for the film) in the past year, Jeanne is a sequel to the musical Jeannette, previous film of Dumont released in 2017, who was the child of the same historical character.
This time, the story takes place in 1429, while the Hundred Years war rages on. With a mission of warfare and the spiritual, Jeanne, delivers Orleans, and delivers Charles VII on the throne of France, before leaving to battle in Paris, where she suffered a first defeat. She will be imprisoned, and delivered to the English, tried for witchcraft and condemned to death.
Do not be fooled by appearances : Jeanne was not that of a historical drama classic. Putting images in a text by Charles Peguy, Bruno Dumont (Ma Loute, P’tit Quinquin) prioritizes rather a staging minimalist close to the filmed theatre, in which there are few decorations and extras.
The first part of the film may at first seem puzzling, then, that several characters (some of whom are played by non-professional actors) take place on the sand dunes to go and speak to Jane (planted by the young actress Lise Leplat-Prudhomme). The tone is quirky and the game seems to be uneven.
Fortunately, the story truly took off in the second part of the film, which focuses on the trial of Joan. Fabrice Luchini makes a short but memorable appearance in the skin of king Charles VII, and the performance of the late singer Christophe (who signs all of the music in the film) alone is worth the trip and takes on a different meaning today, a few weeks after his death.
A film by Bruno Dumont
With Lise Leplat-Prudhomme, Fabrice Luchini and Christophe. Available in video-on-demand on the site of Modern Cinema.