The year is 1429. France is in political and religious turmoil as members of the royal family battle for rule. But one peasant girl from a remote village gave her country the miracle it was looking for. Milla Jovovich is Joan of Arc a young woman who would inspire and lead her countrymen until her execution at the age of nineteen. Raised in a religious family Joan witnessed her sister's rape and death at the hands of an invading army. Years later as the same war raged on Joan stood before her king with a message she claimed came from God: give her an army and in God's name she would reclaim his diminished kingdom. But was the message real or the delusions of a girl whose life had been shattered? (Madman Entertainment)


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English I quite wonder how Besson's grievance against Kathryn Bigelow, who had this project ripped out of her hands after a decade of work, resonated in its day when she refused to cast his then-wife, Milla Jovovich, in the main role. Because foreign and domestic critics ("HySteRicAl ScrEamER hic hic") are uncharacteristically unanimous in their condescension and incomprehension regarding her performance. Here Besson is thematically following on the theme of Nikita with the character of Joan of Arc, i.e. the story of a girl assigned a role who is not given the opportunity to grow up on her own. Here, however, that assigned role is ambiguous, contested, altogether traumatic, and Milla Jovovich is utterly unrealistic in it. She resists male-gazing and because the story is told from her point of view, she becomes an unreliable narrator. Here, Besson once again confirms his ability to create a dominant female character who, contrary to the current trend, is not written as a man but actually as a woman. And even if all of that weren't there, we'd give it five stars for the cinematography, wouldn't we? The latter, by the way, is behind the fact that we find arguably the best battle scenes in the pre-digital era. ()


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English For the the first two thirds the film is fast-paced and Joan's reimaginings of her encounters with God are brilliantly stylized. Mila Jovovich proves that she is not a good actress and overacts a lot, in her rendering, Joan, rather than a pious girl, looks like a hysterical cow. Engaged to Besson at the time, the poor man probably had no option when choosing the lead role, otherwise Saint Joan would have probably given him a hard time at home. The battle scenes are handled decently, but the last third drags excruciatingly. Overall, a strong three stars. ()


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