The Messenger The Story of Joan of Arc

The Messenger (The Story Joan the Arc) The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc by the French director Luc Besson has been one of the latest and best retellings of the story of Joan of Arc and this film, casting Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich, Dustin Hoffmanovich, and Faye Dunawayovich, makes an essential attempt to provide some light upon Joan as a person. Similar to Christian Duguay’s film Joan of Arc, Luc Besson’s film can be realized as assuming a conservative approach to the tale of a young woman who succeeded in a man’s world. In the movie, Joan’s subjectivity is put down at every turn and it goes so far as to create the heroine as hysterical, if not mentally ill. The film features the striking actress/model Milla Jovovich who was married to the director of the film during its production and the film presents the heroine as crazy. "Like other contemporary versions of the story, so often uncomfortable with medieval notions of spirituality, Besson does not attribute Joan’s actions to the directives of divine voice. The film contains many scenes in which Joan appears to be subject to fits and to hallucinate otherworldly figures, but the rationale behind her actions is clear from the start of the film Throughout, The Messenger is filled with skepticism about the entire story of Joan of Arc and the presence of divinity in the face of war." (Blanquet, 162-3) Therefore, in a reflective analysis of the film The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc by Besson, one comes to realize that the film presents the historical Joan of Arc, the Catholic martyr, in a different way and there is an important skepticism about the historical story of Joan of Arc all through the film.
Besson’s The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc is an important film which attempts to rewrite the entire story concerning Joan of Arc and a careful observer realizes that there are various reasons for such a representation of the history. One of the basic reasons for the particular treatment of the story is the influence of mass media historiography on French identity. According to Brett Bowles, "while The Messenger may qualify as mediocre cinema, its attempt to rewrite a revered representational tradition provides valuable insight into the impact of mass media historiography on French identity and raises key questions about the evolution of nationalist discourse in twenty-first-century European culture." (Bowles, 55) Therefore, it is essential to comprehend that the film has a significant impact on understanding how mass media historiography has influenced French identity in the background of nationalist discourse in twenty-first-century European culture. While questioning the credibility of the film with regard to the historical story of Joan of Arc, it reminds us about the various elements that are admissible in this secular age. "Besson resorts to all that is admissible in our secular age: the contrast between the unusual child, out of keeping with her peers, seemingly too religious too young (with a hint of ecstatic epilepsy), and a pathography that emerges in the context of trauma, giving rise to two interpretations of her motivation-idiosyncrasy or pure revenge." (Spence) In conclusion, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc by Besson has a great relevance in an analysis of the representation of the historical Joan of Arc throughout history, and it brings out questions concerning the impact of mass media historiography on French identity.
Works Cited
Blanquet, Dominique Goy. Joan of Arc, a saint for all reasons: studies in myth and politics. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. 2003. P 162-3
Bowles, Brett. "Luc Besson’s The Messenger (1999): Remaking Joan of Arc for the New Millennium." Perspectives on European film and history. Leen Engelen and Roel Vande Winkel. Academia Press. 2007. P 55.
Spence, Sean A. "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc." British Medical Journal. 1999. Nov 28. 2009. .