Criterion Collection: Joan Of Arc (1928)Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc) is widely regarded as Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer's finest achievement and one of the greatest films of all time. Dreyer recreates the trial and execution of St. Joan with near-documentary authenticity, as if one were present at the actual 15th century event and both defendant and accusers were the genuine article. The director's use of huge, probing close-ups -- detailing every pockmark and even the saliva at the sides of the mouths -- adds a shocking immediacy which makes it hard to believe that this film is nearly 70 years old. As Joan, Renée Maria Falconetti (in her only film) transcends mere praise. The Passion of Joan of Arc is a silent film, but the original transcripts of Joan's trial are brilliantly conveyed by the pantomime of the actors. The film's title is supremely double-edged -- Joan's "passion" is shown to be as erotic as it is spiritual.
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Cast & Crew
|Renée Maria Falconetti||Joan of Arc|
|Eugène Silvain||Bishop Pierre Couchon|
|Antonin Artaud||Jean Massieu|
|Maurice Schutz||Nicholas Loyseleur|
|André Berley||Jean d'Estivet|
|Michel Simon||Jean Lemaitre|
|Jean D'Yd||Guillaume Evrard|
|Carl Theodor Dreyer||Director,Editor,Screenwriter|
|Hermann Warm||Production Designer|
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I rented this film because I had heard it contained interesting visual precursors to Film Noir and was not expecting to be ''captured'', as I was. I was truly amazed at the power of this film. The use of close-ups throughout the film, at first seems contrived and quirky, but by the end, they give you a keyhole view into what could have been a documentary from the 15th century. I was moved and got a genuine sense of the pain and sorrow Joan went through. Falconetti was wonderful.
I have long owned a copy of the CD ''Voices of Light'' (the recent sound tract to this 1928 film) I stumbled upon a used copy of this film and was amazed at how well the aura of the music is captured on film. If you are a fan of the group Anonymous 4, as I am, you will love this bit of history.
caught this on tmc's silent sunday night last week, and it blew me away--i had to buy it on dvd. the first half was good, but the second half really let falconetti show what she could do. i've never seen anyone carry a movie on facial expression the way that she did. it was beautiful and heartbreaking to watch.