Saturday, December 12, 2015
Sandrine Bonnaire turns in what might be a career-best performance as the titular saint in the first part of Rivette’s materialist take on Saint Joan. Focusing on its heroine’s religious fervor and its psychological foundation, The Battles follows Jeanne as she leads troops into battle in Domremy and Orleans to reclaim the crown of the deposed Dauphin. Bonnaire plays the young Jeanne as zealous and unflappable, and Rivette’s locates her historical significance within the quotidian details of her time. Declining to depict her divine visions, Rivette instead trains his focus on clanking suits of armor, the ruffling of burlap, the ground crunching beneath her boot, soldiers idly sitting around waiting for the fight to come. Print courtesy of Institut Francais, special thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy NY.