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Pope Joan

original title: Päpstin, Die

Comparison:

  • Theatrical Version
  • Extended TV Version
Release: Feb 02, 2012 - Author: Jason - Translator: DaxRider123 - external link: IMDB
The Movie


You might think that Johanna's short pontificial term in 9 AD is just a legend that is only good enough for some entertaining storytelling. However, you can also believe that there's more to it - considering all the transcripts which were found from 13 AD onwards - especially since it marks one of the biggest scandals of the catholic church (of which there exist quite a few). No matter what your own personal point of view is - it's definitively an interesting story to be told. This is probably what the American author Donna Woolfolk Cross thought when she released her very first novel "Pope Joan: A Novel" roughly 15 years ago. It became a bestseller!
Very early on, Constantin Film secured the marketing rights to create a movie adaptation which then was created in 2009. It was directed by Sönke Wortmann, and Johanna Wokalek (known for her role in The Baader Meinhof Complex) plays the leading role. Even though both persons were not the producers first choice (more on that follows later), roughly 2.5 million viewers in Germany alone were interested in the final product - comedy mixed with historical content seems to be the German viewers' thing.

On the one hand, the movie (which primarily focusses on Johanna's youth) offers some lush scenography; the shots are often visually stunning, and the acting is absolutely decent. On the other hand, you often have the feeling to watch an elegiac movie rather than an exciting historical epic. Due to the documentary style of several dialogues and sequences, various scenes - probably involuntarily - feel like watching a well done segment of a history channel production. This impression is strenghtened by the fact, that not even internationally well-known actors such as David Wenham or John Goodman (resp. their characters) are able to stand out.
Many critics emphasized on the same points and even author Donna W. Cross was not completely happy with the movie adaptation, stating that a hollywood production probably would've looked quite different. However, this criticism shouldn't keep you from watching the movie - despite the downplayed sensational aspect of the movie, "Pope Joan" is an interesting reconstruction of a legend's journey through life - whether you believe in it or not.



The Versions


Originally, Volker Schlöndorff, who’s at home in historical and literarily subjects, was supposed to become the director and the much bigger star Franka Potente was supposed to play the lead in "Pope Joan". The company in charge, Münchener Constantin Film, intended to shoot the movie in a specific way to have the opportunity to edit a 2-part TV Version, besides the Theatrical Version of course. Wouldn’t be the first time because the company proceeded that way with Downfall, Baader Meinhof Complex, The, Buddenbrooks or John Rabe. This is usually a high-profit situation for anyone because a TV station is involved as co-producer from the very beginning, there’s no problem with selling the TV rights (obviously) plus German TV movies can be better sold to foreign countries than German motion pictures for some reason.
Now, shooting two different versions means having two different scripts, especially since a 2-part TV Version needs a suspense at the end of part one and a cliffhanger wouldn’t hurt either. Against prior plans for the TV Version, “Pope Joan” was shot as one-part movie and the distributor figured that one script would do it, anything else could be archieved in the cutting room. Schlöndorff was outraged and made one big mistake: he criticized the way it had been handled. As a result, Constantin Film fired him in an instant. His replacement was Sönke Wortmann didn’t have much of a problem with it and Franka Potente, who was preferred by Schlöndorff, was replaced by Johanna Wokalek. Finally, all problems were solved and the movie could be produced.

Similar to the above-mentioned examples, the Theatrical Version of "Pope Joan" doesn’t lack any elementary elements at all. But the TV Version seems to be better and more logical, the Theatrical Version is kind of bumpy. Especially the long part about Joan’s childhood, of which most of the new footage is about, emphasizes the inner conflict because of her being ridiculously faithful on the one hand but having more and more doubts about the church and their priests and their obvious false interpretations of the bible. Due to the lack of that footage, the Theatrical Version doesn’t illustrate this inner conflict as it should because it’s important for the character. Anastasius’ and Arsenius’ scheme against Pope Sergius or Joan’s passionate commitment to evolve the personal living conditions of the poor and weak in Rome are worked out much better and so is Joan’s relationship with Count Gerold.

To sum it, the TV Version of "Pope Joan" should be prefered ifo ne isn’t already scared by the very calm way of telling the story in the Theatrical Version.
A DVD release of the TV Version hasn’t been announced so far but I assume it won’t take too long.


Compared are the uncut Theatrical Version (FSK 12) and the extended Free TV Version in HD (FSK 12) (12/19/2011 20.15 p.m. ARD).



53 alterations
In particular:

- 35 extended scenes (Extended Version) = 23 min. 48 sec.
- 1 extended scene (Theatrical Version) = 6 min. 27 sec.
- 5 alternate scene sequences
- 12 alternate shots
0:20
Alternative course of scenes (TV-version extended)
The first exterior view of the city of Rome of a little longer in the theatrical version; following a fade to black, there is a short alternative shot of the city's interior. Another fade to black.(15 sec.).



The TV-version on the other hand shows Bishop Arnaldo on his way through town and through several rooms and hallways of the monestary. (75 sec.).


60 sec. (TV-version longer)

1:01
Alternative course of scenes (TV-version extended)
The theatrical version keeps showing the slightly distant reverse shot while the monk and Bishop Arnaldo ascend the steps to the next room. The bishop then skims through the transcript in a close-up shot while the monk explains offscreen he could take as much time as he wants.(16 sec.).



The TV-version switches to the closer frontal shot of the above room earlier. Bishop Arnaldo first lays open the pages and skims through them earlier (the earlier shown close-up shot is used here, too). He then sighs loudly, whereupon the monk asks if he didn't like it. The bishop explains that there was nothing to be worried about, since he hadn't expected anything else. The monk offers the bishop to precisely examine the transcript once more before it is being bound, even though he assures that it was issued with greatest carefulness. The bishop accepts thankingly.
The monk then explains here, too (onscreen, though), that he could take as much time as he likes.(60 sec.).


44 sec. (TV-version longer)

4:43
Extension TV-version
Joan's older brothers have to recite a latin Psalm in front of their home as their father chops wood. Joan, carrying two buckets of water outside sits down a little further away and secretly speaks along after her father demands the boys to repeat it. Then, both are supposed to write down the Psalm; while her brothers are busy doing so, the father looks at his daughter sitting behind him. He reminds her to do her work whereas Joan gets up again and carries the buckets in the direction of the house.
40 sec.



5:14
Alternative course of scenes (TV-version extended)
In the theatrical version, you see little John from the reverse shot going away from the house, then Joan already ascends the steps to sit down next to Matthew.(6 sec.).
The TV-version first shows a frontal shot of the two brothers sitting next to each other, then John folds his writing utensil and, ennervedly, descends the steps. He then passes little Joan, who is milking a goat, in a sideways shot. She stops her work, goes to the stairs and takes the first steps towards Matthew in this shot, too.(21 sec.).
15 sec. (TV-version longer)

Theatrical Version:TV-version



6:18
Extension TV-version
While the parents are asleep, Matthew secretly teaches his little sister how to write her name.
The following shot in the forest starts a little earlier in the theatrical version.
35.5 sec.



7:38
Extension TV-version
Little Joan gets out of bed in the rainy night, quickly checks on her brothers and then crawls under her mother's blanket. She wants to hear a story, and after her mother gave her a few options, Joan replies that she would like to hear the one of the "great Wotan". Her mother explains that they couldn't talk about him, because her father doesn't allow any other gods aside from the one he prays to. Joan says that other gods do a lot of good, too, and that this could not displease "their" god. Joan's mother smiles; she says, that at least in her, the blood of her ancestors was running, and that she could never tell anybody that she tells her the story of Wotan now.

In the theatrical version, only Joan's lines "tell me a story" and "the one of Wotan" were put over the previous exterior shot of the house in the rain, and then her mother already starts the story.
88 sec.



9:55
Extension TV-version
Johannas Vater betet auf Knien für seinen kranken Sohn Matthias, steht auf und geht dann zu dessen Bett. Der Rest der schweigsamen Familie beobachtet ihn verschüchtert dabei. Dort sagt er seinem Sohn onscreen, dass er beten muss und Gott ihn erhören wird.
Joan's father is praying for his sick son Matthew on his knees, gets up and then goes to his bed. The rest of the silent family observes him shily. There, he tells his son onscreen to pray, and that god will listen to him.

In the theatrical version, his request was put over the previous exterior shot of the house instead.
32 sec.



10:01
Alternative Shot
The theatrical version switches to a short view of the rest of the family, the TV-version keeps showing the father sitting at the bed.
No time difference

Theatrical Version:TV-version



12:17
TV-version extended (Alternative shot)
Aesculapius adds that the shepherd gathers the flock, not vice versa, and that his legs could bear this day's march, if they still could carry him from Byzanz to Mainz. Joan's father asks the headmaster to be their guest over night.

In the theatrical version, that line was put over the previous, far-away shot of the house; the TV-version fades to the extended scene earlier in return.
18 sec.



12:46
Alternative course of scenes (TV-version extended)
In the TV-version, Aesculapius explains earlier that he had never found a knowledge base so extensive like the one of the Mainz library.; Joan's father replies that he, too, was able to spend many illuminating hours there. Shots of Joan's sleeping mother and the animals in the house are shown at that.
Additionally, the following dialogue about Plato's works is presented differently in each version.
12 sec. (TV-version longer)

Theatrical Version:TV-version



18:19
TV-version extended (Alternative shot)
Aesculapius explains to Joan that the Christians had been prosecuted for 300 more years in the Roman Empire and only Emperor Constantine introduced a time where everyone was allowed to practise their religion. Joan asks whether their emperor couldn't have just adopted this rule.

The theatrical version fades a little later to the long shot of Aesculapius & Joan. This shot is shown a little longer, too, while he already starts telling her about the academy in Athens; the TV-version on the other hand switches to the scene in which Aesculapius, Joan & John are weaving a basket.
17.5 sec. (TV-version longer)



19:09
Extension in TV Version (Alternative Shot)
Aesculapius, Johanna & Johannes get surprised during class by the father of the children who tells them to stop the lesson in order that they can witness ‘God’s true work’. The village community gathers at a nearby lake, where Johanna’s father, the priest of the village, accuses the midwife, while she is being held by two men, of having stolen the miller’s belt and then having inflicted pain on him by using satanic powers. She denies that (very convincingly), so he decides that she has to undergo one of the infamous medieval ‘witch tests‘: her hands get tied behind her back, then the two men throw into the water.
She doesn’t come up again, so her innocence is proven and Johanna’s father beatifies the woman finally. The gathering disperses slowly; Aesculapius tries to console Johanna by saying that the midwife didn’t suffer very long. She asks herself why God can let happen something like this and that she would like to understand him. Aesculapius responds that she shouldn’t let herself go astray while searching for the answers, even though the people will always say that it is sinful to question God’s judgement - so if reason and knowledge are given by God, only this gifts can lead to Him.

The Theatrical Version shows at this point only a short wide shot of the village, during which the first line of dialogue, Aesculapius saying something about the new schoolmaster, from the next scene can already be heard.
188 Sec. (TV Version longer)



22:09
Extension in TV Version
Johanna stands in two different shots at the grave of Matthew and she asks God why He let her brother teach her and why He sent Aesculapius to her, when this knowledge now should be condemned to waste away.

The last part of this monologue was put over the scene of the rider’s arrival in the village in the extended TV version.
22 Sec.



26:41
Extension in TV Version
Johanna talks to her dead brother at his grave. She doesn’t understand why Johannes has to go to school even though he doesn’t want to and she would love to go instead or why their mother lied to the bishop’s courier. Finally she says that she won’t stay there.
21 Sec.



27:36
Extension in TV Version
Johanna kneels briefly before the dead courier of the bishop and then goes to her brother. Johannes wants to know what they should do now. Johanna answers that they can’t go back. He says that he doesn’t want to go to the cathedral school and become scholar whereupon Johanna submits that their father would send him to a monastery and that he certainly wouldn’t like that. Her alternative suggestion is to fight their way to Dorstadt and to help each other doing that.
29 Sec.



30:19
Extension in TV Version (Alternative Shot)
The bishop, laughing, is shown longer. Odo says that it (Greek) is a heathen language. The bishop confirms that and adds that every word Odo utters is inevitably correct.

In the Theatrical Version, the following shot of Johanna looking to Odo is depicted in different angles of view. The bishop’s following question ‘Am I right, Odo?‘ was also put over a following shot of Johanna.
7,5 Sec.



32:39
Extension in TV Version
Gerold and Johanna walk through the castle gate and then on the bridge. Johanna thanks the count for his kindness of accommodating her, he in return thanks her for having seen grouch Odo astonished. He mounts his horse and asks if she likes these animals. Johanna says yes and she adds that she has never ridden on one yet. Gerold says that it’s about time, helps her up and they set off.
30,5 Sec.



33:41
Extension in TV Version
Johanna runs to Gerold and says that she doesn’t want to bother him that much. The count responds that he really has more important things to do than bringing her to Dorstadt every day, so she will soon learn how to ride and get her own horse. Gerold’s daughters shout after him that he should bring a nice piece of cloth for a new bonnet. He answers that he knows little about cloths and bonnets. Johanna shouts to them that she will keep her eyes open.
Then Richilde steps out of the door in the background and urges her kids to stop the embroidery and to use the daylight. She gazes after Johanna and her husband sullenly.
49 Sec.



35:27
Extension in TV Version
While the stallion gets shod on the market, count Gerold asks Johanna if they would get a good price for it - and if they should sell the foal too. Johanna looks at him terrified; the foal seems to get nervous too. By smiling, Gerold shows that it was just a joke. Johanna smiles back.
25,5 Sec.



40:29
Extension TV Version
Joan asks whether Gerold really has to leave. He answers that he has to fulfill his duties if he wants to keep his lands. Also, his daughters will still have their "big, smart sister" if something would happen to him. He also says that Richilde would get over this death rather fast because they had been promised each other as children and never loved each other. He adds that Joan probably noticed that already.
32 sec.



44:22
Extension TV Version
Richilde answers that Joan is no girl anymore but has become a woman and so they should not live together under one roof anymore.
7,5 sec.



44:52
Extension TV Version
The bishop earlier says: "He barely is that.".
2 sec.



44:54
Extension TV Version
The bishop states that he does not have a good feeling wihtout the duke's agreement.
4,5 sec.



45:01
Extension TV Version (Alternative Shot)
Richilde tries to convince the bishop longer to have Joan married without her husband's consent, but he still disagrees and does not want to talk about it. The duchess then reminds him of the fact that her cousin is the bishop of Utrecht, who surely would not like to hear of certain things. When the bishop asks her whether she really wants to blackmail him, she smiles coldly and confirms.
New scene: the blacksmith's son goes to Joan and tells her that the lady wants to see her.

The Theatrical Version only shows a short shot of the bishop with a voiceover by Richilde stating that she is Joan's guardian an therefore can decide about her. The blackmailing is not mentioned at all.
56,5 sec.



45:51
Extension TV Version
Richilde adds "Because he is too soft to tell you, I have to do it." Joan looks horrified and shakes her head.
9,5 sec.



46:03
Extension TV Version (Alternative Shot)
Richilde says that Gerold probably told Joan that their marriage was only seemingly loving, but how should she know better, being only a farmer's daughter.

The Theatrical Version also uses a different camera angle for Richilde's previous line.
17,5 sec.



53:31
Extension TV Version
A guy gives Gerold Joan's wedding dress.
16,5 sec.



59:02
Extension TV Version
Joan's teacher tells her that the abbey acts exactly as their founder, the holy Benedict intended it to do. Joan says that Benedict then also set up rules against god's bidding and that every man should be able to live the way he wants to.
19 sec.



1:27:56
Extension TV Version
Anastasius enters the pope's room and kneels next to Joan at his bed. He confirms that she works miracles and asks what she wants for her services. Joan says that it is an honor to serve the pope and the she would never ask for something in return. Anastasius says that these things do not contradict each other and that he would surely be able to sleep more quietly if he knew her/his price.
47 sec.



1:35:22
Extension TV Version
Papst Sergius loudly wonders whether the arrival of King Lothar was the punishment for his sins. Joan says that it is rather a test. The pope also asks himself whether he should kneel in front of the king or provoke a fight between his 200 guardians and the army of the king. Joan answers that there might be a third way.
40 sec.




1:49:18
Extension in TV Version (Alternative Shot)
At this point, several scenes in a row were reintegrated in the TV Extended Version:
At first, count Gerold explains to Johanna that he’s a free man now and that she can be free as well. Moreover he wants to wait for her at this place every day at sunset. Then he leaves Johanna, mounts his horse and rides away.
One moment later she sees an exhausted boy who is carrying two buckets full of water. She helps him with one of the buckets by carrying it to a poor quarter where the generous Johanna gets encircled by needy people. She promises that the Pope will hear about their misery and that they will receive help. Then she notices the not-functioning aqueduct.



Scene change: In a meeting of the clerics under the direction of pope Sergius, Johanna speaks against the building of more “useless churches“ and she speaks for the reconstruction of the aqueduct to assure the survival of the people in the poor quarters. Archbishop Eusthasius gets angry; he thinks that this would cost too much money and that they can’t be sure that those people are not so well. Finally Anastasius begins to speak, he arbitrates between the two parties by proving them both right and he suggests that they should wait with the building of new churches until the indispensable new aqueduct is finished and until then they should just redevelop those churches which need it the most.
The pope rises, acknowledges this suggestion as very wise and wants it to be done this way. The meeting ends; Arsenius congratulates Anastasius on this smart move. He answers that this favorable situation made this approach indispensable and then he asks if his father had found “their man” yet. Upon this, he leaves at a hurried pace.



Scene change: Johanna explains in an interior monologue during the prayer that the Lord in the moment of her greatest disunity assigned this duty to her and wants her to follow her fate, not her heart. But she also asks doubtfully why it has to be the one OR the other.
Then she visits the ruins again, where count Gerold waits for her at early evening, as promised. They embrace each other. Johanna notices with joy that Gerold brought a horse for her (probably the foal from her youth which she spent with him).



The theatrical version shows at first just a short alternative shot which is equal to the first picture of the beginning of the whole extension, but in which Gerold doesn’t continue speaking. Then, the scene change to their ride already follows.
254 Sec.

1:51:40
Extension in TV Version
While the theatrical version fades to black slowly, the extended TV version shows Johanna standing at the death-bed of the pope a little bit longer. Then she asks where the pope’s valet is staying. Johanna and some others walk with torches through dark corridors to his chamber - where the man lies with his throat sliced open in a pool of blood. Then the picture fades to black too.
23 Sec.



1:51:55
Extension in TV Version (Alternative Shot)
In the extended TV version, the speech of archbishop Eusthasius is a little bit longer while Johanna fights her way through the crowd of people. At the end, the people repeat the “Amen” and they cross themselves.

In the theatrical version, the first shot of Johanna fighting her way through the crowd is still shown. The beginning of the following lines of dialogue of the archbishop was laid over it. In the extended TV version, he says this on-screen at the end of the scene extension.
18 Sec. (TV Version longer)



1:52:02
Alternative Shot(s)
Due to the previous extension in the TV version, there are different shots in the respective versions (with no runtime difference) because of the further course of the scene while the archbishop keeps talking.
No Runtime Difference

Theatrical Version:Extended TV Version:



1:52:32
Alternative Shot
The theatrical version remains on the shot of the Roman, the extended TV version contains a cut to Gerold.
No Runtime Difference

Theatrical Version:Extended TV Version:



1:52:45
Extension in TV Version
The Roman adds that all the qualities of his character would recommend Anastasius for the throne.
4 Sec.



2:01:48
Extension TV Version
Anastasius & Arsenius have a conversation in a garden area. The son thinks that the new pope is soft because he bowed down to emperor Lothar; the father replies that he thinks that it was actually very tricky, since "Johannes" keeps the emperor at bay with this tactic and thus weakens the leaders' position. Anastasius doesn't want to avow himself beaten and makes it perfectly clear that he wants to become pope at all costs - even if he needs to use violence. He will do it whenever "Johannes" makes a mistake. Arsenius in return praises the new pope's qualities and warns Anastasius that he might sin in front of God on his way to his goal. In the end he also adds that it might have been God's will that Anastasius fails.
The latter has heard enough, leaves his father and explains that he's taken the father's advices long enough - it won't happen again in the future.
120 Sec.



2:03:07
Alternative Shot
The theatrical version shows a cut to Anastasius, while the extended TV version shows the speaker a little longer.
No difference in time.

Theatrical Version:Extended TV Version:



2:06:07
Extension TV Version
Gerold sees Johanna and tells her that the people start turning against the pope and that she should leave. Johanna asks him to wait another day since she thinks that she can't leave the believers alone on the most important holiday of the year - she wants to read the Easter mess. Gerold replies that she used all the time she was given; Johanna smiles.
22 Sec.



2:15:06
Alternative Order of Scenes(Extension in Theatrical Version)
The theatrical version shows the bird's eye perspective of the city center way longer during the credits. The credits are shown bit by bit. After a while, the image fades to black and the rest of the credits roll. In the extended TV version you see the credits roll faster - both during the shots of the city as well as after the fade to black. Additionally, the credits are snatched up to a fraction of the original runtime.
387 Sec. (Theatrical Version longer)
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