Close Up

14 - 21 September 2010: Joan of Arc: Dreyer & Bresson


Joan of Arc has been celebrated on film many times but only Dreyer and Bresson have portrayed her during her trial with such intensity. This programme offers a rare opportunity to compare two films radically different in style, adapted from the same historical records of the trial of Joan of Arc.

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Carl Theodor Dreyer
1928 | 82 min | B/W | Digital

Silent and shot mostly in close-up, Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc focuses on Renée Falconetti who gives one of the greatest performances ever recorded on film as the young maiden who died for God and France.

The Trial of Joan of Arc
Robert Bresson
1962 | 61 min | B/W | Digital

In contrast to Dreyer's expressionist film, Robert Bresson's depiction of Joan's relentless interrogation and persecution is minimal and restrained. As is typical of his style the film features a remarkable cast of non-professional actors – or "models", in Bresson's terms – whose performances are emotionally neutral.