Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo's feature Johanna, constitutes a postmodern revisionist update of the Joan of Arc story, staged as a mystical opera about drug addiction and sex in an Eastern European hospital! Orsolya Toth stars as Johanna, a young heroin addict who, as the film opens, flees down the corridors of a dank and yellowed hospital, with a doctor chasing her. As she runs, she passes misery, death, suffering, rot. At the last waning moment, just before Johanna escapes form the physician's grasp, she slips and cracks her head open on the floor, losing consciousness. The experience only brings Johanna to death's door and back, however, and soon, she is revived - and, improbably, given a job as a nurse at the hospital. In time, she discovers that the near-death experience imparted the ability to heal patients by having sex with them, which not only sparks a series of torrid erotic affairs, but draws hellfire and rage from the hospital staff. This anger - when pitted against the ongoing rumors of Johanna as a saint - represents the clash between the miracles of science and the pagan magic and superstition of the common folk. As an opera, all of the dialogue in Johanna (without exception) is sung at a fever pitch. Most critics proclaimed Mundruczo's picture an honest failure, even while they were dazzled by the director's unapologetic gutsiness and originality.
by Nathan Southern synopsis