The Trial of Joan of Arc

The Trial of Joan of Arc

Australian DVD cover
Directed by Robert Bresson
Produced by Agnès Delahaie
Written by Robert Bresson
Starring Florence Delay
Jean-Claude Fourneau
Roger Honorat
Marc Jacquier
Release dates
30 May 1962
Running time
65 min
Language French/English

The Trial of Joan of Arc (French: Procès de Jeanne d'Arc) is a 1962 historical film by the French director Robert Bresson. Joan of Arc is played by Florence Delay.[1]

As usual in Bresson's mature films, The Trial of Joan of Arc stars non-professional performers and is filmed in an extremely spare, restrained style. Bresson's screenplay is drawn from the transcriptions of Joan's trial and rehabilitation.

Bresson's Joan of Arc is often compared with The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) by Carl Theodor Dreyer. Bresson compared that film unfavorably with his own, expressing his dislike of the actors' "grotesque buffooneries" in Dreyer's film.[2]


In 1431 Jeanne, a French peasant girl, is imprisoned for heresy and brought to trial at Rouen. Despite rigorous interrogation by the judges and constant persecution from the jailers, her faith remains unshaken. The relentless theological questioning and argument in court is broken only by an ineffectual attempt at torture and an examination to prove her virginity. Jeanne's insistence that her military ventures were bidden by God is scoffed at by the English, who are anxious to destroy the legend already building around her. In a moment of weakness during the trial, Jeanne recants her faith. She is sentenced to life imprisonment, but when she retracts her earlier confession, the court decrees that she be burned at the stake as a witch.[3]



The film won the Special Jury Prize at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival. [4]

See also


  1. "The Trial of Joan of Arc". Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  2. Quoted in Paul Schrader, Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer (1972), ch.2
  3. "Trial of Joan of Arc (1965)". Retrieved 2014-12-12.
  4. "Festival de Cannes: The Trial of Joan of Arc". Retrieved 2009-02-24.
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