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The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

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: The former connotes a primarily juridical and jurisdictional point; the latter suggests

: that I have reason to doubt Nevsky's earthly sanctity, ultimate salvation, or both.

Then your ears over-parse.  smile.gif

I don't think so, no, but I can think of at least two possibilities why I would hear it that way and you wouldn't, though they probably aren't worth going into at this point.

Well, the archpriest cites Tolkien's works in his homilies, too.  smile.gif

Hey, cool. I wish my pastor did. biggrin.gif

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Maybe it would be more accurate to say he quotes the FILMS based on Tolkien's works. But I did borrow a Tolkien book from my priest's wife, once, and it turned out he had given it to her (and inscribed a nice, romantic little note on the first page) back in the '70s.

Based on how often he quotes a certain line from the film, I gather he's also an Untouchables fan. smile.gif

And I STILL haven't found time to watch the Invisible Man DVD set he lent me.

(Did I mention he came to a costume party hosted by my sister dressed as "The Shadow"?)

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News from Criterion:

Forty-seven years after Anna Karina communed with The Passion of Joan of Arc’s Maria Falconetti in Vivre sa vie, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Saint Joan continues to inspire artists. According to a Pitchfork Media report, Will Gregory and Adrian Utley, members of the bands Goldfrapp and Portishead, are collaborating on a new score for the silent, spare 1922 masterpiece. The full-length piece—which will feature electric guitar, horns, percussion, keyboard, and members of the London-based Monteverdi Choir—will premiere May 7 in the United Kingdom, at Colston Hall in Bristol.

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1922 masterpiece.

Weird. They don't normally get things like this wrong.

According to a Pitchfork Media report, Will Gregory and Adrian Utley, members of the bands Goldfrapp and Portishead, are collaborating on a new score for the silent, spare 1922 masterpiece. The full-length piece—which will feature electric guitar, horns, percussion, keyboard, and members of the London-based Monteverdi Choir—will premiere May 7 in the United Kingdom, at Colston Hall in Bristol.

Hope they record it for all. Sounds awesome.

Edited by Persona

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I just watched this film again - the Criterion edition - via Netflix streaming. To my disappointment, I discovered that viewing it this way doesn't serve up the musical accompaniment that's available on the Criterion DVD. Just the straight stuff.

But I found a magnificent solution. I hit "pause" and immediately put the soundtrack to The Double Life of Veronique on the stereo. The results surpassed my expectations - it plays like it was composed for the film.

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Oh, and by the way, the new Goldfrapp/Portishead score was scheduled for its first performance last Friday. I should look for some reports about it.

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I got back from seeing The Passion of Joan of Arc screened with a live performance of the 1994 Voices of Light score. What a overwhelming experience. I think I'm still processing it, but the formal genius of Dreyer's shot composition and editing juxtaposed with the blunt force of Falconetti's visceral Joan was sublime. Surely one of the greatest cinema experiences I've ever had. I think tomorrow I might have something more substantive and discussion-worthy to say, but right now all I can do is pile on the superlatives.

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Just saw this for the first time. For starters, let's just say I love you guys. From nowhere else do I get better film recommendations than from your Top 100 list and these threads. Best silent film I've ever seen, and I've seen and enjoyed quite few (though mostly of the Charlie Chaplin/Douglas Fairbanks variety).

Looks like the discussion here over the years has been mostly of the Catholic/Orthodox variety. As a regular ol' Protestant myself, I've never been quite sure what to think of Joan of Arc. I actually just re-read Shakespeare's Henry the Sixth, Part 1 a couple weeks ago which has a very different Joan of Arc than this film does (in that one, the saintly character is Talbot, who commends himself to God against Joan's witchcraft). It seems pretty clear that, once handed over to the English, she was simply a legitimate prisoner of war who happened to be a passionate, devout, and perhaps slightly fanatical young girl. From the records of the trial, it also seems pretty clear that they unjustly rigged it against her, more for political than religious purposes.

Whether I believe all the religious claims she made were true, and I probably don't, she shouldn't have been condemned to death for heresy. And I can appreciate her martyrdom, which seemed to me to be more of the patriotic rather than the religious variety. (It looks like the retrial/investigation in 1455 pretty much proved they condemned her more for secular than religious reasons).

Each Dreyer film I try for the first time keeps making large impressions that stay with me weeks later. This feels like more of the same. Better story, acting, and camera work than most films being made today. Maria Falconetti is amazing, and her acting is what makes the film superior to most anything else I've seen in silent film (Emil Jannings and Lon Chaney are probably two of the best actors in silent film I can think of). This is even more impressive considering that it looks like she was mostly just an actress in theater (where acting was usually always more flamboyant and, well, theatrical - think Douglas Fairbanks extravagant body language in all his movies). The fact that there are so many long close-ups of nothing but her facial expressions (and close-ups of of the expressions of the other characters) allows the camera to simply capture her ever changing turmoils, going from terror at the implied threats to her delight at being asked to think about her belief in God back to the agony of what they are using her beliefs in God in order to do. I can't help wondering what the film would have been like with sound, but "sound" back then was of pretty poor quality, so I'm pretty sure the film is better for solely focusing on her silent expressions rather than relying on anything else. I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on this after thinking about it for longer.

It looks like, at this point, there are over 10 different musical scores for the film. Looks like I heard Richard Einhorn's "Voices of Light" choral and orchestra soundtrack to the film for my first time, and it was beautiful. Wikipedia seems to have a list of different composers' attempts at a musical score. Gotta say, at this point, I'm interested in trying out each one.

Thanks for the recommendation, guys. Looks like it holds a well deserved place in the Top 100.

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I'm reading this crazy book for my Asian American Lit class--Dictee by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha--and it's mentioned Joan of Arc a few times, and now I just got to a page (119) with the iconic Falconetti pose from Dreyer's film.

I also found this video about the Porthishead/Goldfrapp score.

Edited by Tyler

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I'm reading this crazy book for my Asian American Lit class--Dictee by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha--and it's mentioned Joan of Arc a few times, and now I just got to a page (119) with the iconic Falconetti pose from Dreyer's film.

Russ!

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I'm reading this crazy book for my Asian American Lit class--Dictee by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha--and it's mentioned Joan of Arc a few times, and now I just got to a page (119) with the iconic Falconetti pose from Dreyer's film.

Russ!

Has Russ read that book? Could he tell me what it's about? I'm 40 pages from the end, and I'm still not sure.

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I'm reading this crazy book for my Asian American Lit class--Dictee by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha--and it's mentioned Joan of Arc a few times, and now I just got to a page (119) with the iconic Falconetti pose from Dreyer's film.

Russ!

Has Russ read that book? Could he tell me what it's about? I'm 40 pages from the end, and I'm still not sure.

Russ is in the book. This is Russ (read the preceding and subsequent posts).

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Of course I find out about the "alternate" soundtracks after watching the film! Netflix should inform me of these possibilities! :) I also just finished watching the Portishead/Goldfrapp video on the soundtrack. I'm not sure that I like the idea of soundtracks to this film. It was pretty powerful on its own. It's probably the first silent film I've ever seen.

Falconetti is as amazing as advertised. There are some amazing shots, what I call the "cross shadow", the birds at the end etc. Well deserved to be on our A&F Top 100.

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I love trying silent films with different scores. It can radically change the experience (Carl Davis' score for the Milestone release of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA elevates that film's quality a good ten percentage points). Criterion's release of PANDORA'S BOX--one of my favorite, favorite silent films--nicely provided four different scores in significantly different styles.

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Tomorrow (Thursday) is the last day to stream this from Netflix. There's no sound with it, but as has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, other soundtracks work pretty well. I'm watching it with the Siegfried soundtrack by the Calm Blue Sea right now, and it's meshing surprisingly well.

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Since we're on the subject of soundtracks and silent films, I sincerely wish that every silent film DVD included a separate audio track that was just the sound of a projector turning at the appropriate frame rate. For example, Nathanial Dorsky, whose films by and large are silent, shoots and projects at 18fps because he prefers the sound of the projector at that rate. I'm not a fan of most silent film scores but I also don't like them to be completely silent. I love the sound of a film projector, though.

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Tomorrow (Thursday) is the last day to stream this from Netflix. There's no sound with it, but as has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, other soundtracks work pretty well. I'm watching it with the Siegfried soundtrack by the Calm Blue Sea right now, and it's meshing surprisingly well.

I started this on Netflix streaming months ago, but finally finished it last night. I was honestly bored out of my mind (hence the four month gap in watching), but it clicked by the end. I'm no stranger to silent film; I think the hurdle was the fact that I watched this with no sound at all, aside from the voices in my head.

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Tomorrow (Thursday) is the last day to stream this from Netflix. There's no sound with it, but as has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, other soundtracks work pretty well. I'm watching it with the Siegfried soundtrack by the Calm Blue Sea right now, and it's meshing surprisingly well.

I started this on Netflix streaming months ago, but finally finished it last night. I was honestly bored out of my mind (hence the four month gap in watching), but it clicked by the end. I'm no stranger to silent film; I think the hurdle was the fact that I watched this with no sound at all, aside from the voices in my head.

Yeah, the first time I watched it, I started with no sound and couldn't stand it. Then I found the Voices of Light track on the DVD and watched it with that.

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When I first saw this, Renée Falconetti's much-praised performance was a bit of a stumbling block. It was clear that she was portraying a woman who wasn't all there, whose real attention was turned toward some interior or heavenly realm of the spirit, but she seemed to spend most of her time staring blankly into space for no particular reason. The second time, it clicked better. That face is so economically expressive. The eyes, eyebrows, and lips might just barely move, but they can project a transition from terror to ecstasy or faithful confidence to doubt. Look at the part where one of the judges asks Joan if she's in the state of grace, and for a long moment she looks troubled as she struggles to look deeper inside herself. Then the ghost of a smile as her serenity returns and she finds her answer.

 

And it's so relentlessly fast. Joan answers with slow, brief sentences and long pauses, but the camera keeps jumping from face to face. This, no doubt, is one reason Joan suffers so much during her trial: she has the temperament for a more usual art-house film with lots of long takes, but justice moves fast and she must keep up with it. In the scene where she's shown the instruments of torture, one of the priests starts turning the spiked wheel and going faster and faster until it's spinning unbearably fast, and there are only three or four things to look at in the scene, with Joan, one or two others, and the wheel, but we can never look at anything for two seconds together and it just keeps going until you're short of breath.

 

But the trial itself, despite being unavoidably reduced to little more than a series of iconic moments to fit in a single film's running time, is more like a game of Mafia: an involved psychological chess game, but with all the developments being so subtle, underneath the swift surface drama, that no one quite knows exactly what's going on or what the last move was. Dreyer's Joan (unlike Shaw's more self-possessed and articulate heroine of the same name and drawn from the same documents) is either too simple or too otherworldly to really play this game, and yet the bench full of learned doctors are surprised to find her a worthy opponent: "We'll have to be clever." Surely an invisible hand was guiding her powerful answers, so that no one could say the judges were not warned that in administering this martyrdom, they were sowing a whirlwind. They were lucky to get away at the time with nothing more than a riot, but we are told in no uncertain terms that the riot is only a weak sign of the victory that Joan has won.

 

That's the movie as I see it, anyway. And damned if it doesn't work.

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Scrolling through this thread again, I'm alarmed to rediscover that the old Matthews House Project site is long gone, and I'm wondering: Is there any way to access Stef's review of the live-performance screening that is highlighted in early in this thread?

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I don't know how the "Way Back" machine works, but in the past when I wanted to access an a Sopranos article I wrote for MHP, Peter found it via that site's archive of past Internet pages.

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