Movie Fan Man: Cinema Connoisseur

Traditional, Artsy, Genre-Within-Genre: A Little Something for Everyone

Take a Film Dare: My Take

by Tony Nash

(A Blog Extra Special)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

Maria Falconetti and Eugene Silvain in La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928)
US Poster re-release (from IMDb)

La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc/Jeanne d’Arcs Lidelse og Dod) (1928) ***** PG-13

Renee (Maria) Falconetti: Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) (as Melle Falconetti)

Eugene Silvain: Eveque (Bishop) Pierre Cauchon

Andre Berley: Jean d’Estivet

Maurice Schutz: Nicolas Loyseleur

Antonin Artaud: Jean Massieu

Michel Simon: Jean Lemaitre

Jean d’Yd: Guillaume Evrad

Louis Ravet: Jean Beaupere (as Ravet

Armand Lurville: Un Juge (A Judge) (as Andre Lurville)

Written by: Joseph Delteil & Carl Theodor Dreyer (transcribed from the real court documents)

Directed by: Carl Theodor Dreyer (as Carl Th. Dreyer)

Synopsis: Faithfully reconstructed from the real court documents, the trial, sentencing, and execution of French heroine and saint Joan of Arc is subtly re-enacted.

260 Film Screenings: La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc | Denise Likomeno
Joan Preparing to Give Her Testimony (from Denise Likomeno’s WordPress Page)

This take on my Take a Film Dare Challenge will be a little bit different in that I’m going into the past and speak about a film I wasn’t sure I’d have liked even after quite a few years.

La passion de Jeanne d'Arc / The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) Carl Theodor  Dreyer, Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Biography, Drama,  History | RareFilm
Jean Massieu, the Only One on Joan’s Side (from RareFilm)

I had first seen Danish film icon Carl Th. Dreyer’s masterpiece late one night when I was in grade school on Turner Classic Movies with my Dad. I knew about Jeanne d’Arc from school and of course the History Channel (back when it actually showed good History programs), so I had a fairly good idea about what I was going to see. I was really struck by the use of close-ups of the faces, particularly that of Ms. Falconetti, but after about 20 minutes or so, I didn’t think the film was going anywhere and I ended up going to bed a little later.

La Passion et la Mort de Jeanne d'Arc - Posts | Facebook
Massieu Attempts to Comfort Jeanne (from Facebook)

As I was finishing High School and going into college, I started reading a little more about Dreyer and his film about Jeanne, and was starting to reassess my original thoughts of it, and it was in 2012 while taking a Women in History course I became re-immersed in the story. Our main grade was going to be based on a paper we did on famous female figure in history, and I ended up picking Jeanne. Making a mention of Jeanne in the world of TV and Film, I finally decided it was time to give that Silent film another try.

La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc: film - Students | Britannica Kids | Homework  Help
A Guard and Inquistor Look on as Jeanne Prays with the Monks (from Kids Britannica)

For the Christmas of 2012, one of my gifts was the Criterion Collection DVD of The Passion of Joan of Arc and the day after the holiday while my parents were out to the theater seeing the film musical Les Miserables I spent the evening watching the DVD. The second go around was a much more pleasurable experience than all those years ago, partly because I was older now and became more knowledgeable when it came to cinema, and cause I was more open to the experience of Dreyer’s style of filmmaking. The one thing that didn’t change for me was how horrible the score that was used for the film was, and I spent my re-watch listening to the audio commentary from historian and Dreyer biographer Casper Tybjerg.

Still Of Maria Falconetti In La Passion De Jeanne Dx Arc Photo Shared By  Frayda14 | Fans Share Images
Jeanne’s Ring is Stolen by the Inquisitors (from fansshare)
La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc). 1928. Directed by  Carl Theodor Dreyer | MoMA
Renee Falconetti perfectly embodied the spirit of Jeanne (from

The use of close-ups held more of an impact the second viewing, coming to realize Dreyer was recreating the tension, claustrophobia, and suspense that Jeanne must have felt during her trial and execution. Renee Falconetti’s performance as Jeanne is breathtaking, near perfectly identifying with the courage, fear, despair, hope, and resoluteness that was the Maid of Orleans. Never before had an actress been able to draw audiences so close to a real life figure and be able to identify with her on a real intimate level. Only Albert Dieudonne’s performance as Napoleon comes close to what Falconetti achieved with her body language and facial expressions.

La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc | Philharmonie de Paris
The end draws near for Jeanne (from Philharmonie de Paris)

I can definitely my opinion changed on the film, and for the better, as I came to understand for the most part what Dreyer wanted to achieve with the film and how he pulled it off so seamlessly. This certainly isn’t the first time a film I wasn’t sure of previously had come to work for me, but this one was the first to have a great impact on me. I highly recommend anyone to check this one out, and to definitely either the Criterion Blu Ray or Eureka! Blu Ray as they offer multiple score options over the Voices of Light that, while impressive, takes away from the film.

Please feel free to list your own experiences in the comment section, or leave a link in the comment section if you wish to take the Film Dare Challenge

All images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

For more information

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0019254/?ref_=nm_knf_i1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Passion_of_Joan_of_Arc

buying options

https://www.criterion.com/films/228-the-passion-of-joan-of-arc

from the Masters of Cinema Eureka!
From Amazon
From Amazon UK

Filed under: Film & TV: Potpourri, Film: Special Topics

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