Joan the Maid: The Battles
For the first installment of his ambitious yet restrained two-part study, director and co-screenwriter Jacques Rivette surveys the revelatory period where Joan met with royalty, joined the army, and led the French into battle against the English. As Joan, Sandrine Bonnaire gets at the reality behind the legend, showing the matter-of-fact courage of a teenage girl. For both films, costume designer Christine Laurent was additionally co-screenwriter.
Joan the Maid: The Prisons
The second part of Rivette’s diptych, brought leading lady Sandrine Bonnaire a César Award nomination for her powerful performance. Joined in this installment by other excellent French actresses, including Edith Scob, Hélène de Fougerolles, and Nathalie Richard, Bonnaire taps into her character’s vulnerability as she plays out windows in the final two years of Joan’s life, from the battlefield victory to prison life to the stake.