Criterion Collection: Joan Of Arc (1928)

Criterion Collection: Joan Of Arc (1928)

5.0 4
Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer

Cast: Carl Theodor Dreyer, Renée Maria Falconetti, Eugène Silvain, Antonin Artaud

     
 

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Carl Theodor Dreyer's classic silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc gets the DVD treatment it deserves on this superb release from Criterion. The DVD offers a standard full-frame transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1. English and French subtitles are accessible. MusicalSee more details below

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Overview

Carl Theodor Dreyer's classic silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc gets the DVD treatment it deserves on this superb release from Criterion. The DVD offers a standard full-frame transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1. English and French subtitles are accessible. Musical composer Richard Einhorn wrote an entire opera that was inspired by this film. The opera is available on the disc, along with an audio essay by Dreyer historian Caper Tybjerg, a retrospective on the various alternate versions of the film that have existed, a booklet containing the libretto for Einhorn's piece, and many other supplemental materials. This is an outstanding disc; its excellence is something most DVD consumers have come to expect from Criterion.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
Danish director Carl Dreyer's silent masterpiece still looks as astonishingly avant-garde today as it did 70 years ago. And stage actress Renée Falconetti remains the definitive Joan of Arc: As the maiden who led an army in defense of France, was burned at the stake as a heretic, and later canonized as a saint, she gives one of the screen's most remarkable performances. Dreyer chronicles Joan's trial and execution almost entirely in close-ups, isolating faces and objects at startling angles against stark backgrounds. The young martyr's face; tearful eyes cast heavenward; the fleshy, smirking countenances of her merciless judges; the sculpted features of Antonin Artaud (a memorable presence in the film) -- all become monumental canvases upon which every shade of human emotion registers with unparalleled intensity. Dreyer's original version, unearthed in a Norwegian mental institution and beautifully restored, is enhanced here by Richard Einhorn's exquisite choral score, Voices of Light. For those who have only seen inferior prints of the film, this splendid Criterion disc will come as a glorious revelation.
All Movie Guide
One of the undisputed masterpieces of cinema, Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc glows with the fervor of spiritual and aesthetic single-mindedness that is so intense it's almost blinding. With a script culled from the actual proceedings that led to Joan of Arc's burning at the stake, the movie seems an artifact from a lost time. Dreyer imagines the French saint's ordeal as an exalted passage to grace. Insisting that his actors not wear makeup, he captures images of indelible immediacy; Joan's sad, soulful eyes and the craggy faces of her leering inquisitors stay with you. The realism is as much emotional as it is physical. Recognizing that the truth of the story lay less in historical accuracy than in psychological nakedness, Dreyer painted an almost abstract march to martyrdom. The spare, blinding-white set seems stylized, as is Dreyer's high-pitched visual strategy, which relies heavily on close-ups. Frequently, you're left with little but a harsh cascade of them, with no wider shots to ground the action in a given space -- the drama literally transpires across the human face. Holding it all together is Renée Maria Falconetti, in one of the great performances in film history. Her mournful eyes wide with rapture, Falconetti seems under a spell, as is the viewer by her. The performance was too great, so intense that Falconetti never returned in front of the camera again. The movie and her performance have since inspired imitations, most notably in the work of Danish director Lars von Trier, whose melodramas of female suffering seem almost tawdry by comparison. As influential as it is singular, The Passion of Joan of Arc remains many decades later an overwhelming experience and an undiminished tour de force.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/19/1999
UPC:
0037429139820
Original Release:
1928
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, stereo]
Time:
1:22:00
Sales rank:
24,834

Special Features

Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light: a choral and orchestral work performance by vocal group Anonymous 4, soloist Susan Narucki and the Radio Netherlands Philharmonic and Choir; audio essay by Casper Tybjerg, a Dreyer scholar from the University of Copenhagen; a history of the Passion's many film versions with clips; audio interview excerpts with the star's daughter, Helene Falconetti; extensive production design archive; an essay by Richard Einhorn on Joan of Arc and Voices of Light, plus a video essay on the music's production; Voices of Light libretto booklet, including the medieval texts used in Einhorn's composition

Cast & Crew

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Scene Index

Chapters
0. Chapters
1. About the Music [:22]
2. Credits [:40]
3. Exclavmavit/Prelude [1:56]
4. Chapel [1:12]
5. Victory at Orleans [5:03]
6. Interrogation [10:05]
7. Prison [1:56]
8. The Jailers [3:07]
9. Pater Noster [8:42]
10. The Jailers Return [2:19]
11. Torture Chamber [6:13]
12. Deathbed [:19]
13. Illness [4:17]
14. Sacrament [4:33]
15. Churchyard [:19]
16. Abjuration [8:21]
17. Recantation [4:11]
18. Karitas [2:03]
19. Anima [2:25]
20. The Stake [3:30]
21. The Final Walk [3:15]
22. The Burning [3:20]
23. The Fire of the Dove [2:53]
24. Epilogue [1:10]

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