This is probably not the first opera to include the lyric “She is a whore”, but it is undoubtedly the first to sing “Let us run to Urology.”


If you try to follow… themes of

sexuality, healing, amnesia, delusions, religious conversion


“Amnesia”: fits eastern idea of loss of ego bringing one closer to god.


“Hospital as church” doctors as priests interpreting experience



Brings the passion of opera to a contemporary setting that makes it more real for a non-buff such as me.


If you want to a wonderful tale of the story of Joan of Arc, this movie is not the best source.  My vote for the best source is Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain.  There, you will read a story of a young woman who believes she is called by God to serve a group of people and becomes beloved by them.  However, the church despises her because she does not work through the structure of their authority.  When they challenge her, she refuses to deny her belief in her divine mission, and they destroy her. 


Actually, if you replace “the church” with “the hospital”, it’s not so far off after all.  If you consider doctors the priests of healing perhaps you would get closer still.  You might even consider whether psychiatrists or mental health professionals are taking the place of the church in defining what beliefs about your relationship with God might be acceptable in the case of delusional mental illnesses.


A psychiatrist may have make a difficult decision about whether a person’s beliefs are so delusional or dangerous that they require treatment.  But as Zsolt Trill reflects the doctor onhe plays, he says “My character is simply not able to raise to her standards; he is not able to get to understand her and her deeds … It is my pettiness that drives me to the tragic end…”


In the story of Joan of Arc, perhaps the final, most damning charge against her was that she wore the clothes of a man, the she performed in a role reserved for men.  She did not act out her sexuality in the appropriate way.  Like Emily Watson’s character in Breaking the Waves—she uses her sex in a way she feels has been directed by God for the healing of others. Fans of Leonard Cohen and songs like Sisters of Mercy will certainly appreciate the concept of the holy healing power of the female body.  But for someone with Johanna’s background


Roger Ebert, in his review of that film stated, “Like many truly spiritual films, it will offend the Pharisees. Here we have a story that forces us to take sides, to ask what really is right and wrong in a universe that seems harsh and indifferent. Is religious belief only a consolation for our inescapable destination in the grave? Or can faith give the power to triumph over death and evil?


Johanna is clearly a flawed character at the start, but how much does this undermine the good in her.

If you like this movie, it will likely be because it touches you on a deep, unconscious level, calling you to explore your attitudes about sexuality

Cohen-Sisters of Mercy


In the story, she suffers a blow to the head.  This certainly could result in amnesia.  And from the viewpoint of eastern spirituality, what better way to jettison the ego that otherwise blocks you from surrendering to your oneness with God?



Despite all the efforts of her
devoted patient-followers, she is, like the original Joan, condem
ned to incineration.


Borderline Personality Disorder--often rooted in history of abuse splitting of staff/patients



Diagnosis: Like going to a car mechanic who acknowledges something is wrong with your car but can’t tell you for sure what caused it or how to fix it… you may try a few things.



Shamanistic: someone who believes in their own healing power may be able to persuade others to engage their own.


Director Kornel Mundruczo Writer Kornel Mundruczo, Viktoria Petranyi Stars Orsi Toth, Zsolt Trill, Ildiko Cserna, Denes Gulyas, Istvan Gantner Running time 83 minutes
Country Hungary/Germany Year 2005


 a modern-day Budapest


Expanding on an idea from his short, "Joan of Arc of the Night Bus" --


she ends up in a body bag, incinerated on a garbage heap


 In Hungarian with English subtitles


Kornél Mundruczó - Director
When I started working on this film my first idea was to make a story out of the Joan of Arc [“Johanna”] legend which would deal with the subject of ‘goodness’, that is, on how intense the experience of it can be in a situation –









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