Friday, April 26, 2013

The Story of Joan of Arc

The movie "The Messenger: the story of Joan of Arc" vehicles not just the struggle of one person, but also of the entire nation of France vis-à-vis in finding the will of God for them. Situated in the time of the Medieval Ages, when the Church and State were practically one, one definitely is at a loss in recognizing if an event divinely inspired, or merely conjured by the power-hungry machination of man. 
Joan, a young village lass, who was tasked by God to bring a message to the soon-to-be king of France, did not perform merely as a seer by what lies ahead nor a prophet by mediating her people to God. The French people, too much distressed because of famine and insecurity brought by the war, must have expected her to perform miracles that will improve their living condition.  And she did, through God's mighty intervention.

Throughout the movie, the concept that she is a 'messenger' figured prominently. And she was able to prove that she is an authentic one through the signs she did not perform, but the signs done on her by the Almighty. She reached the palace safely despite having to go through dangerous places threatened by the presence of the English forces. She was able to recognize the soon-to-be crowned king of France in the midst of people who wanted to dupe her.  She won the battle of Orleans single-handedly to the surprise of her people, majority of whom was expecting her bitter defeat.  

A movie, it is said, is a good one, if it has a good conflict that will make the protagonist live in order to battle it out, and find a logical solution to put an end to it. It is in this perspective that I consider this movie a good one as it opened the eyes of its viewers to the painful realities of the Church that goes out of its bounds to announce the coming of the Kingdom of God, but while waiting for its coming, has institutionalized a kingdom that runs contradictory to the values the Kingdom of God stands for.

Given this situation, searching for God's will has become a more complicated affair. Especially because those who had been tasked to discern and obey his will were all entangled with the affairs of man.

In the midst of this conflict is Joan, a young village girl who was given signs. 

But she, too, had a conflict to resolve, not just in the beginning of the movie, but throughout it. As she battled it out with her own conscience (shown in the latter part of the film). It was resolved when she finally confronted with it, and able to accept her shadows. 

She died violently in the smoldering stake prepared for her by the enemy, peacefully