Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
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,…
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…
''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…
One of the stranger movie experiences I've had. I was watching this on YouTube (yeah) and had the sound down because I couldn't stand the music the user had chosen. Apparently, this would have been all right by Carl Dreyer. (The silence--maybe not the YouTube part.) That and the extensive use of close-up made for an oppressive, claustrophobic viewing, but it felt right, and all the better to be captivated by Maria Falconetti's face, eye-bugging and all. She is absolutely sublime in the second half. Some really fascinating camerawork too, which I wasn't expecting from such an old film. (But on the other hand, what the hell do I know?)
December challenge - 43/100
The poster that shows for this film proclaims that The Passion of Joan of Arc is "An immortal screen classic that will live forever!". They could not be any more right.
Why I love the BFI. Just seen this on the big screen with live piano and flute accompaniment.
“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter - often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter - in the eye.” - Charlotte Brontë
How is it possible to be completely entranced by a pair of eyes? It depicts a twinkle,shock,grief,joy at various stages...this movie is the perfect definition of the term "facial expression"...Maria Falconetti's performance is so powerful that i bet if the real Joan of Arc were alive she would have broken down in tears..One thing i guarantee you once you have seen this,you will never forget it for sure! For me it is the most powerful performance in cinema hands down.
-Muy bien filmada
-Gran actuacione de Falconetti. Muy intensa, expresiva, diferenciada. Ojos muy elocuentes
-Filmación muy dinámica. Cada toma tiene un sentido y una expresión determinada y lograda
-Todos los personajes secundarios poseen rostros muy expresivos que ayudan mucho a film
-Como decía Hitchcock, el cine es para contar historias visualmente y esto se logra a propiedad aquí. Poquísimos textos. Los personajes se dicen cosas que uno no escucha pero que intuye por la calidad visual de la película
Quite possibly one of the most passionate, emotional and powerful depictions of a human face in the history of cinema. After more than 80 years since its creation, the cinematography and the face it captures still leave a resounding impact on a viewer's soul.
The Passion of Joan of Arc was the most devastating yet sublime movie experience I've ever had. The pure, rawness from Carl Th. Dreyer's camera movement brings this story of martyrdom and bravery to near perfection. Her excellency, Miss Falconetti, executes perhaps the greatest performance by any actor/actress in the history of cinema.
I can't praise this movie enough. It is quite an experience.
An emotional silent film I will not forget. It has impressive pictures for a black and white silent film. The story in this film is interesting, I think that's why I like this more than many other silent films. The acting is great here, the main actress impresses me with her acting. The music really sets the mood and tells the story. Overall a surprisingly good silent film, that I would recommend to others.
I can't even describe how incredible this film was. A masterpiece in every sense of the word. Falconetti is absolutely transcendent as Joan of Arc, possibly the finest female performance I've ever seen. This needs to be on the top of everyone's watchlist if you have never seen it.
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
most recent update - Friday, November 22, 2014
The letterboxd crew has unveiled a new feature that allows users to…