This entry was posted on May 22nd, 2017

By Mónica Delgado

A headbanger Joan of Arc? If Norman Jewison made his hippie and psychedelic Jesus Christ Superstar, why not imagine a musical with a heroine saint with touches of metal, glam and electronic music? This time Dumont registers with austerity of shots and the fields as open spaces, the infancy and adolescence of this French icon, using the codes of rock opera, but dispensing of elaborated  and the virtuoso staging proper of this type of musical.

Dumont translates his fascination for the ghostly gestures of the non-professional actors he’s worked with to an allegoric manifestation about the determination of Joan of Arc in her future fight against English occupation. The Maid of Orleans is show in brief rhythmic acrobatics, singing prayers among sheep, to God, her main driving force to her call to arms in its conviction and mysticism. We see a small Jeanette and then an adolescent one, in variations of a same fixation, in her love towards God (that Dumont identifies with the sun and sky) and her relationship with her best friend and her parents, until she leaves home, a bucolic place.

Divided en three parts, Jeannette, L’Enfance de Jeanne d’Arc is an absolutely unusual musical, but at the same time it is a very “Dumontian” film. His style is clearly recognizable in the actors’ direction, in its “medieval” physiognomies, in the austerity of his mise in scene and also in the clear familiarity with the absurdist comedy he’s been working in in the last years. A free and creative work, that presents an iconoclastic and renewed Dumont.

Director: Bruno Dumont
Producer: Jean Bréhat
Music: Gautier Serre
Cinematography: Guillaume Deffontaines
Script: Bruno Dumont, Charles Peguy
3B Productions,ARTE, Arte France
115 min