All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
The Passion of Joan of Arc
The Passion of Joan of Arc is the masterpiece from Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer that depicts the story of French martyr Joan from Orleans seven years after her canonization from the catholic church.
I watched this twice, back to back. Once with sound, once without. Both times I was gobsmacked by what was laid out before me on screen. Watching this film feels like having the weight of our history looking over your shoulder with you. It is teeming with historical framing and importance, regarding both its shape and content.
Completely ignoring historical context Dreyer’s film opts to relate Joan of Arc’s story by focussing on her trial and execution and the suffering that went along with it. No sweeping shots of her military victories, no familiar backdrop, it assumes that its audience knows who we’re dealing with here and chooses to focus on her last days and how she suffered through them.…
I am not a religious man. Growing up, my mother took me to church because she felt she should, an obligation rather than any actual deep connection to a deity or the scripture that was referenced each week. My father would spend each Sunday morning out in nature, taking walks or just sitting and reflecting on the beauty of the world around him, thus he would rarely if ever join us at church. As I hated going and found the one hour to be painfully boring, absorbing nothing from the teachings of Jesus Christ, I finally spoke up and asked my old man why it was fair that I had to go and he didn't.
He explained that he did…
I never believed the hype. A film made in the 20s, a silent film made in the 20s, being declared by some to be the best film ever made? Sounds like something only a film historian could say. Sounds like homework, like you have to know about film in the 20s to see how this one sets itself apart. Yawn. At least it is only 82 minutes.
I believe the hype now, and I ain't no film historian.
Dreyer didn't want to tell the story of Joan of Arc, he wanted to tell the story of The Passion of Joan of Arc. If Joan is God's daughter, she met the same fate as her brother. Both had trials. Both were…
After a recent watch of Mexican director Carlos Reygadas’ wonderful Silent Light, and subsequent urging from LB friends to seek out Dreyer’s Ordet, it became apparent that it was time to tackle Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc from our list of shame as a warm up.
As a reference point, we watched the Criterion DVD with the Voices of Light musical accompaniment track. As another point of reference, my historical knowledge of Joan of Arc was woefully lacking, as is my knowledge of silent film.
I’ll just begin by saying that it’s visually arresting. The ability to see this startling beauty is due to the discovery of a near pristine original print in 1981 and subsequent Criterion restoration,…
''Will I be with You tonight in Paradise?''
An old English proverb states ''The eyes are the windows to the soul'', and never has that statement seemed so apt as it does with this astounding work from Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent era. Never have I seen such a powerful testament to faith under persecution as this film presents, with it's painfully tortured performance from Maria Falconetti as Jeanne d'Arc who embodies strength and devotion under heretical judgement even unto the bittersweet end.
The way Dreyer frames and focuses on the faces of his subjects is an inspired decision in finding the truth in the material and making the actors accountable to their performance. Every tear shed is like blade to…
In a review posted in 1997, Roger Ebert wrote "You cannot know the history of silent film unless you know the face of Renee Maria Falconetti." What makes this statement fascinating is that anyone even remotely familiar with that era of film would think first of the stars of the time like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and perhaps Harold Lloyd, yet he invokes the name Falconetti as a necessary piece of cinematic knowledge. Was she a star at the time, a familiar face recognized from multiple silent classics? She was not. In fact, her lead role in The Passion of Joan of Arc was her one and only appearance on film during her life. It didn't require her to speak…
Goddamn. Literally. God damn. An indescribable experience. By far the best silent film I've ever seen. One of the most emotional experiences I have ever had with a film. Maria Falconetti's big round eyes were like a portal into my soul that reflected the emotions that I was feeling as the film's events unfolded before me. I felt like I was in her place. I felt like I was powerless to stop what was steadily approaching.
This might be one of my favorite films. I am definitely going to see it a few more times.
"For me, the human face is the most important subject of the cinema." - Ingmar Bergman
Well, it's no surprise that this ranks as one of his favorite movies then! Maria Falconetti's expressions in this movie could be the most clear and effective way to illuminate the experiences leading to Joan of Arc's death. Everything from her tears and twitches to her blank gaze are unbelievably authentic and hypnotic. It's such a shame her filmography is so limited!
An emotional and engrossing experience for Christians and heathens alike.
White. Whiteness and more bright whiteness. This visual identity which stems from sets that are more abstract than ever before in film is in some ways unique in the silent cinema period. Is there some kind of trascendence in this blankness or is it meant to leave the faces unaccompanied by any dispensable element?
These faces are usually isolated from their environment by the framing. This decision rejects staging in space favouring a narrative of human expression. When an entire movie is almost built with close-ups, the technique loses the impact given by its exclusiveness in a more classical découpage. However, something different arises: an awareness of minor changes, subtle ones, in faces. Also, passion emerges not as a consequence…
What masterful visuals. I never would have thought that a film made up almost entirely of closeups would be so effective. I didn't have the visceral reaction that our professor advertised, but I think at another time I might.
THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC is not a film, it's a full-body reaction -- one that conjures the deepest feelings of loss, torment and hysteria that movies can summon. You want a performance that lies comfortably among the century's highest artistic accomplishments? Because it's here in Maria Falconetti.
with accompaniment by Deafheaven! That was a fun lil experiment. Wish this was at 20 fps instead of 24 bc of the clips I saw at 20 where it looks way less jittery.
Best use of close-ups in cinema history, hands down. Certainly the most emotionally effecting silent film of all time, yes?
MASTER-FUCKING-PIECE OF FILMS OF CINEMA.
Maria Falconetti's eyes...
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…