Inspiration in Literature & Cinema

Woman, angel, shepherd, savior, knight, martyr, saint

Article from Le magazine gratuit féminin Orléans. www.edith-magazine.com April 19, 2012. Translated from french to english.

Just 20 years on Earth and more than 400 books to his name in the National Library of France! What historical figure will more than Jeanne d’Arc, crystallized much fascination with writers and filmmakers? On paper as the coil, for decades, the Maid proves in any case plural …

First observation that everyone will agree: the life of Jeanne d’Arc. has been repeatedly adapted “La Pucelle” well be the woman with the best documentation of the Middle Ages, it remains the most mysterious. In case, the fact that historians are usually attached to a very short period of its existence, which runs from spring 1429 to the end of May 1431. For the rest, life, and especially the personality of the Maid are very enigmatic.

Second observation equally consensual Jeanne inspired mostly men. If some brave writers and historians have rubbed the story of Jeanne, no director has not, for the moment, taken the plunge.

Third point: Jeanne d’Arc is a protean figure. Woman, angel, shepherd, savior, knight, martyr, saint, the Maid has no borders. It is therefore natural that it has raised questions, doubts, perplexities, and even distrust. Jeanne is, however, a historical “anomaly” that could, after his trial, disappear from our memories. But it became an unforgettable character and object recovery. Jeanne suffered from writer’s recipe: for ages, everyone was accommodated in the sauce …

The character of every fantasy

literature was first seasoned in its own way. Until the sixteenth century, Jeanne did not really inspires that Christine de Pisan dedicates a tribute to eleven stanzas, it plays a secondary role in the history of the reign of Charles VII.The advancing history, larger feathers rub the character Jules Michelet, Anatole France (in four volumes, this is THE cure for insomnia), Paul Claudel, Maurice Barres, Voltaire and even beyond our borders, Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich Schiller and Bernard Shaw, to name a few, are interested in the phenomenon. Each rewrite the life of Jeanne in her own fantasies. Theories more or less smoking it will be contiguous to the armor. According to the angles chosen, Jeanne will, choice, survived the stake, was the daughter of King hidden or worshiped pagan rites … For some, it was not even a man …! It is true that a woman knight, it was a little too suspicious …

A bit of myth and many legends

Among all these hacks, Voltaire show the most disrespectful. Her Maid of Orleans is a comic epic, in which the philosopher is concerned about the interest that was brought to this country girl who, according to him, that is a travesty! Under his pen, the greatest achievement is to have Jeanne managed to keep her virginity intact …. In contrast to this shocking description, Friedrich Schiller gives us to read a romantic Jeanne, in every sense of the word. Bergere, humble, pious and feminine, the knights do not resist him and fall in love with her, wanting to make her a wife and mother (!). But guilty of loving a British soldier, she chooses to condemn herself, she escapes to the stake, but not death … Less lyrical, Pierre Caze questions under the Empire, the birth of Jeanne. It becomes home, the hidden daughter of Queen Isabeau of Bavaria and Duke Louis of Orleans, brother of Charles VI. Jeanne would and half-sister of Charles VII, she finally replaced the head of the army.
During the Third Republic, with Charles Peguy, Jeanne becomes the epitome of France, a patriotic icon in all textbooks. Maurice Barres, he sprinkled the Celtic sauce, and makes frolic near the “fairy fountains!” In Gilles and Jeanne (1986) by Michel Tournier, the Maid takes the features of a much more complex, double and androgynous character. This was a young boy asexual, a comrade and play with which we train. A so that no innocent man figure can not be attracted to her. In the book, as a medieval Eve, it contains an element of evil, which will push Gilles de Rais on the wrong track …

Last year, Max Gallo has not challenged the “voice” of his heroine Jeanne d’Arc, France Maiden burned alive (2011). His Jeanne is a separate being, and indeed very few fights. Not arousing desire on the part of men – except those raw … English – she is humble, selfless, and ultimately gaining humanity when she starts to feel the fear and doubt. In a melancholy nature, she senses his tragic destiny even if sometimes she hopes to escape alive …
And women in all this? The few writers who have attempted the challenge of the Maid are Colette Beaune and Regine Pernoud, medieval historians. Less romanticized, their books tell a Jeanne unadorned, strong, independent and determined.

Cinema: new Eldorado

This is already not easy to write a book about Jeanne d’Arc, then make a film … To reduce the risk, the early twentieth century, we began by adapting plays. Indeed, if the audience is captivated by the piece, there is a good chance that it is in the film …
Chronologically, the first achievements of the Maid coincide with the beginnings of cinema. Georges Méliès offers a quick version, in 1900, about ten minutes, which traces the life of Jeanne, his childhood to paradise (phew a version that ends well …). In 1928, Carl Dreyer directed The Passion of Jeanne d’Arc and focuses on the trial of the shepherdess of Domremy. The camera focuses on the face and the eyes of the Maid: it is no longer a warrior Jeanne, but an exhausted woman who, despite all the suffering and persecution, retains an unshakable faith in God. The images are hard, like when his executioners shave his skull. Then remains of Jeanne a face, thin, pale and desperate …

Cinema: new Eldorado

This is already not easy to write a book about Jeanne d’Arc, then make a film … To reduce the risk, the early twentieth century, we began by adapting plays. Indeed, if the audience is captivated by the piece, there is a good chance that it is in the film …
Chronologically, the first achievements of the Maid coincide with the beginnings of cinema. Georges Méliès offers a quick version, in 1900, about ten minutes, which traces the life of Jeanne, his childhood to paradise (phew a version that ends well …). In 1928, Carl Dreyer directed The Passion of Jeanne d’Arc and focuses on the trial of the shepherdess of Domremy. The camera focuses on the face and the eyes of the Maid: it is no longer a warrior Jeanne, but an exhausted woman who, despite all the suffering and persecution, retains an unshakable faith in God. The images are hard, like when his executioners shave his skull. Then remains of Jeanne a face, thin, pale and desperate …

The version of Luc Besson (the most violent) shows a woman engaged in a vendetta. In a fervent piety and demanding, the child feels safe and inside the church and confesses several times a day. Physically attractive, it lacks assurance that the events and the thirst for revenge feed gradually. And visions, are they real or imagined? Besson leaves the viewer … If the judge Jeanne attract nearly 3 million people in the halls, the following versions are much less popular. Jeanne captive, Philippe Ramos (2011), is far, in fact, have “captured” the crowds. Focusing on the period of imprisonment of the Maid, the film depicts a Jeanne without armor, lonely, even the voices have abandoned … Ramos wanted to study a single woman face men, the heightened femininity, which also explains why actress Clemence Poesy wears long hair. Special mention, finally, the Canadian TV movie Christian Duguay, with Leelee Sobieski in the title role (1999). In this adaptation, the origin of the myth of Jeanne d’Arc is attributed to Merlin the Magician (!), While the voices are represented as spectra. You said nanar?

34 times Jeanne d’Arc

One unusual character, unwavering strength, doubts: this, seriously, what fascinates filmmakers in the character of Jeanne d’Arc. All surveyed the look of the actress to find the answer to this mystery not about to be resolved: the end of 2011, the movie had already carried 34 times the Maid on the screen.
But now, to please any writer or filmmaker embarking on a work of Jeanne must be very careful. The recipe for success is indeed a good mix of essential scenes (recognition of Charles VII, wood) and news that will surprise the audience. Although Marie Antoinette has in recent years experienced a renewed interest in 2012 he will mark the comeback of Jeanne d’Arc?

Article from Le magazine gratuit féminin Orléans. www.edith-magazine.com April 19, 2012. Translated from french to english.