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18— Giovanna d'Arco al Rogo (1954)

1. Bergman, My Story , p. 310. [BACK]

2. Quoted in Patrice Hovald, Le Néo-réalisme italien , p. 122. [BACK]

3. "Je ne suis pas le père du néo-réalisme," 3. [BACK]

4. Interview, Cahiers du cinéma (1954), 12. Twenty years later he was to tell interviewers that Giovanna was an experiment, and that he was mostly interested in the "technical side" of the film ("A Panorama of History," 100). [BACK]

5. Quoted in Hovald, Le Néo-réalisme italien , p. 123. [BACK]

6. "Joan at the Stake," Theatre Arts , 39 (May 1955), 31. In the same article, the magazine, presumably guessing, also said that when Rossellini came to film the oratorio, he changed everything except cast and costumes, just for a challenge. [BACK]

7. Aprà and Berengo-Gardin, "Documentazione," 34. [BACK]

8. Alessandro Ferraù, review in Bollettino dello spettacolo (February 1955), quoted in Aprà and Berengo-Gardin, "Documentazione," 35. [BACK]

9. Patrice Hovald, Roberto Rossellini , no page. [BACK]

10. Rondolino, Rossellini , pp. 85-86. Rossellini has, in fact, explained at great length the chemical and optical intricacies of the mirror technique he used to film Giovanna , a technique which became standard practice in both dramatic films like Anima nera and didactic films like La Prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV . (See the interview portion of Baldelli, Roberto Rossellini , pp. 202-3.) [BACK]

11. Guarner, Roberto Rossellini , pp. 68-69. [BACK]

12. Guarner mentions two other features of the film worth repeating: first, that Joan is here imagined as intensely human: "she is celebrated as a woman—you can even see her breasts through the tunic," as opposed to the sword-fighting youngster of Victor Fleming's earlier version with Bergman. The second point is an elaboration of Rondolino's concerning the film's circularity. Though he has spoken of it as a representation of God's point of view, as we saw, he also convincingly describes it as a literalization of the earthly prison that surrounds Joan, which she desperately tries to escape:

The idea of the circle recurs at all levels in the film, in a) the dramatic construction, which ends where it began, b) the visuals, with all their circular forms, c) space, constantly closed in on itself, like a cyclorama which includes the whole set, and d) finally, the camera-movements characterised by pans and circular tracking shots which sooner or later are completed to close the circle. Giovanna d'Arco al rogo , though seeming static, is in fact an enormous slow gyration, gradually travelling round to reveal its start (Guarner, pp. 69-70).

13. Michel Estève, "Les Séductions de l'oratorio filmé ou le merveilleux contre le surnaturel," Études cinématographiques , nos. 18-19 (Fall 1962), pp. 65-71. [BACK]

14. Claude Beylie, "Défense de Jeanne au bûcher ou la sérénité des abîmes," Études cinématographiques , nos. 18-19 (Fall 1962), pp. 72-78. [BACK]


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