Bruno Dumont Explains Why His Cannes-Bound Medieval Saga ‘Joan of Arc’ Is Nothing Like ‘Game of Thrones’

IndieWire | 5/7/2019 | Staff
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One of the most acclaimed directors working in France today, Bruno Dumont doesn’t tend to repeat himself. In the last decade, he has gone from making a supernatural thriller set in the countryside (“Outside Satan”) to a classical biopic (“Camille Claudel 1915”) to a whimsical TV series about bumbling detectives (“Lil Quinquin”) and a surrealist comedy of manners (“Slack Bay”).

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Jeanette - Movie - Draws - Revisionist - Approach

Like “Jeanette,” the new movie draws on a revisionist approach to the Joan of Arc story from a play by Charles Péguy. But Dumont said he didn’t expect most audiences watching “Joan of Arc” to have experienced his first installment. “It’s a whole new story,” he said. “It’s an epic film, a gothic action film.”

For some viewers, that aesthetic is most familiar these days from the weekly dose of sword-and-sandals showdowns on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which will air its finale during the first weekend of Cannes. Dumont said he was a “Game of Thrones” fan, but cautioned against any comparisons with his new film. “I watch it,” he said. “But this is more like the opposite. ‘Game of Thrones’ draws so heavily on the Middle Ages that today any historical evocation reminds us of it. With “Joan of Arc,” he said, “all the facts and characters are authentic. The marvelous thus first exists in reality and then inspires fiction.”

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It also exists in the shadow of previous Joan of Arc adaptations, including Carl Theodor Dreyer’s classic 1928 silent treatment and Robert Breton’s “The Trial of Joan of Arc.”

He especially...
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