MOVIES: The Messenger: the Story of Joan of Arc

Finally got to watch this & it is very good, about as historically correct as you can expect from a movie. Surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of the Burgundian bishops trying Jeanne for heresy trying to get her to recant so she could be welcomed back into the arms of mother Church.

Very interesting character played by Dustin Hoffman listed in the credits as “the Conscience” at times seems almost like Satan in the old sense of “the accuser” and he batters her with doubts while she is in prison.
But right before her execution, when the Bishop has refused to hear her confession it is he who absolves her – so is he an hallucination, the last vision that God sent her or what?

Oddly, the film was directed by Luc Besson who wrote/directed La Femme Nikita, Leon: the Professional & The Fifth Element. Ste Jeanne seems rather a change of pace.

Anyway, see the movie if you get a chance.

I saw The Messenger at the movie theater when it first came out. I went in expecting it to be good, and it was to an extent, but I was a little disappointed because it seemed to portray St. Joan as a naive child with noble ambitions who got in over her head when she saw the gritty realities of war.

I didn’t like the Dustin Hoffman character either. He seemed to be put in there to present a modern skeptical viewpoint by the writers and creators of the film, like Besson. I don’t know what their agenda may have been but I don’t think St. Joan ever claimed to see such a figure, from what I understand she never waivered in her faith like that.

I much preferred the TV mini-series on Joan of Arc with Leelee Sobieski, I believe.

[quote="AnthonyM2, post:2, topic:200073"]
I saw The Messenger at the movie theater when it first came out. I went in expecting it to be good, and it was to an extent, but I was a little disappointed because it seemed to portray St. Joan as a naive child with noble ambitions who got in over her head when she saw the gritty realities of war.

[/quote]

Well, yeah.
Not necessarily naive but on a holy mission & disillusioned not just disillusioned by the realities of war (what sane, much less saintly person would not be dismayed?) by by seeing her divine mission undermined for political reasons.

I didn't like the Dustin Hoffman character either. He seemed to be put in there to present a modern skeptical viewpoint by the writers and creators of the film, like Besson. I don't know what their agenda may have been but I don't think St. Joan ever claimed to see such a figure, from what I understand she never wavered in her faith like that.

But she did, though it may be unfair to say she wavered in her faith. She signed the indictment [right term?] accusing her of heresy. While imprisoned she was no longer hearing her voices and all the representatives of the Church were urging her to save herself by admitting her errors.

Of course she the recanted her recantation and was burnt.

I much preferred the TV mini-series on Joan of Arc with Leelee Sobieski, I believe.

Thanks, I'll check that out & try to find a good book on the subject as well.

[quote="didymus, post:3, topic:200073"]
Well, yeah.
Not necessarily naive but on a holy mission & disillusioned not just disillusioned by the realities of war (what sane, much less saintly person would not be dismayed?) by by seeing her divine mission undermined for political reasons.

But she did, though it may be unfair to say she wavered in her faith. She signed the indictment [right term?] accusing her of heresy. While imprisoned she was no longer hearing her voices and all the representatives of the Church were urging her to save herself by admitting her errors.

Of course she the recanted her recantation and was burnt.

Thanks, I'll check that out & try to find a good book on the subject as well.

[/quote]

I see your points, I recall that Joan did recant at first and then reversed her recantation. It's understandable that she went through dark times during her imprisonment that tempted her to doubt, but in the end she came out strong in her beliefs.

Still, to me, the movie did not seem a fair portrayal from a faith perspective but rather accentuated the doubts of Joan's sanity. Though it has been a while since I've seen the film, I may have to watch it again to get a fresh perspective. Thanks.

I think you may like the other version. It came out the same year and is less graphic in its depiction of violence and gore, as it was made for television.

This time I found The Passion of Joan of Arc, a silent film done in 1928. The negatives were lost and the prints in existence were all edited and recut. An original version with Danish titles was found and restored with French titles in the 80s.

Anyway, it is a much more saintly depiction of Jeanne though the bishops and the Church generally come off far worse than in the last movie I posted about, The Messenger: Joan of Arc. E.g., it shows her being threatened with torture which simply didn't happen.

Btw, the film is completely silent, no musical score which was normal for silent movies.

For those interested here's a link to transcripts of Jeanne's trials, both the heresy trial and the "nullification" trial which posthumously reversed her conviction -- something I'd never heard of.

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