A way-out concept is stretched way beyond its limits in “Joan,” a modern reworking of the Jeanne d’Arc story staged as sung-through opera in the style of Gothic-Hungarian grunge. Expanding on an idea from his short, “Joan of Arc of the Night Bus” — part of the episode pic “Lost and Found” (2003) — young Magyar helmer Kornel Mundruczo (“Pleasant Days”) has produced a pic that won’t go much further than outre fest slots and experimental opera events.
Striking blonde actress Orsi Toth (also in “Night Bus”) plays the title character, a drug addict who falls into a coma after a traffic accident, miraculously recovers, and stays on in the lugubrious hospital as a nurse, curing patients by lying beside them. The joint’s regular staff, including a doctor she rebuffs, eventually turns against her, and she ends up in a body bag, incinerated on a garbage heap. Zsofia Taller’s angular, rhythmic score, with everyday lyrics (“Let’s run to Urology!”), loses its shine after the initial reels, and the relentless, zombie-like color palette (moldy greens, vivid scarlets) and bloody surgical details show little variation across the 86-minute running time.