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The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Carl Theodor Dreyer

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#21 SDG

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 01:01 PM

QUOTE(Peter T Chattaway @ Nov 8 2005, 02:52 PM)
As an Orthodox, I'm a little more open to the notion of "warrior saints" -- and thus I don't tilt as strongly towards pacifism now as it might seem that I did then -- but obviously, I would not consider Joan one of these saints.

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...and that's obvious because.... why?

Are you referring only to the comparatively trivial fact that you wouldn't celebrate her feast day on the Roman calendar, or recognize her canonical status as a saint of the Latin Church?

Or is there some obvious reason why you would not consider Joan to be among the holy ones in Heaven (traditionally the primary meaning of the word "saint"), or to have lived a holy life on earth?

The fact that we have partially differing martyrologies is no reason, by my lights, to preclude our considering at least some of one another's saints to be true friends of Christ and worthy role models. As a Catholic, I can and do honor as saints holy men and women in the Eastern Orthodox (not just Eastern Catholic) tradition, and I hope that if I were Orthodox I would not refuse to consider as saints holy men and women in the Western tradition.

For a number of years I included a Russian Orthodox spiritual writer in my personal litany of saints. I have no problem saying that I personally consider him a saint. I could be wrong -- I don't know for certain he is in Heaven (or even whether the Russian Orthodox Church itself regards him as an "official" saint). But I would never say that I "obviously" wouldn't consider him a saint, as if it went without saying.

BTW, do Orthodox Christians really use the word "Orthodox" as a noun, as in "I'm an Orthodox" or "As an Orthodox"? I understand that to insist on the adjectival form can be a little awkward; "I'm Orthodox" (adj) works fine, but "As an Orthodox Christian" gets a little clunky. (Perhaps "Being Orthodox"?) Anyway, it sounds much better to me as an adjective.

Frankly, I'm not even fond of the nounification of "Catholic" ("I'm a Catholic"), though in colloquial usage it enjoys overwhelming acceptance. Properly speaking, it would be better to say "I'm Catholic" or "a Catholic Christians" or "I belong to the Catholic Church," but there's no sense making a big deal about it.

Edited by SDG, 09 November 2005 - 01:05 PM.


#22 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 04:09 PM

SDG wrote:
: ...and that's obvious because.... why?

Cuz she's totally post-Schism. Kind of like how you wouldn't recognize St. Alexander Nevsky (who was not only post-Schism, but was canonized precisely because he fought back against Catholic invaders; Joan, of course, never fought the Orthodox, because she was too busy fighting her fellow Catholics).

: Or is there some obvious reason why you would not consider Joan to be among the
: holy ones in Heaven (traditionally the primary meaning of the word "saint") . . .

I think it's pretty clear I wasn't using the word "saint" in THAT sense.

: . . . or to have lived a holy life on earth?

I frankly have no idea how "holy" her life was. She heard voices, yes, but schizophrenics (and perhaps others, for all I know) hear voices all the time. And she invested most of her spiritual energies in a highly partisan war of no obvious spiritual merit or benefit. These things made her famous, and it is possible that she was both famous and holy, but being famous itself does not make someone holy.

: The fact that we have partially differing martyrologies is no reason, by my lights, to
: preclude our considering at least some of one another's saints to be true friends of
: Christ and worthy role models.

No worries on that score. C.S. Lewis is very popular at my church, and I'm sure there are plenty of other non-Orthodox role models we like. smile.gif

: BTW, do Orthodox Christians really use the word "Orthodox" as a noun, as in "I'm
: an Orthodox" or "As an Orthodox"?

I'm pretty sure I've heard it used that way, but yeah, I agree it's clunky.

#23 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 04:18 PM

QUOTE(Doug C @ Nov 9 2005, 12:11 PM)
Have you tried The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Red River, or Rio Bravo?  I recommend them all heartily.

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Love them all, I own The Searchers, but in this case I'm renting True Grit. Probably about as un-Dreyer as you can get, but as long as its un-foreign chick flick too, I'm happy. biggrin.gif

#24 SDG

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 04:54 PM

QUOTE(Peter T Chattaway @ Nov 9 2005, 05:09 PM)
: ...and that's obvious because.... why?

Cuz she's totally post-Schism.  Kind of like how you wouldn't recognize St. Alexander Nevsky

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To my ear, at least, there's a subtle but important difference between saying that I (or we) "don't recognize St. Alexander Nevsky" and saying "Obviously I would not consider Alexander Nevsky a saint."

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.

I don't want to make too much of this; you seem to be implying, at any rate, that what you meant was what I called the "comparatively trivial fact that you wouldn't celebrate her feast day on the Roman calendar, or recognize her canonical status as a saint of the Latin Church."

If that's all you meant, I have no problem with that. OTOH, if that's what you meant, you could easily have cited this snippet from my post and said "Yes, that," instead of responding to the grafs before and after this comment while omitting the comment that most accurately characterized what you meant.

QUOTE(Peter T Chattaway @ Nov 9 2005, 05:09 PM)
: Or is there some obvious reason why you would not consider Joan to be among the
: holy ones in Heaven (traditionally the primary meaning of the word "saint") . . .

I think it's pretty clear I wasn't using the word "saint" in THAT sense.

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Well, I didn't suppose so, though I don't know how "clear" it was, at least to me.

QUOTE(Peter T Chattaway @ Nov 9 2005, 05:09 PM)
: . . . or to have lived a holy life on earth?

I frankly have no idea how "holy" her life was.

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Fine; my point is simply that to say "Obviously I wouldn't consider X a saint" suggests more than that your have no idea how saintly X was, it suggests that you consider X to be at least probably not a saint.

QUOTE(Peter T Chattaway @ Nov 9 2005, 05:09 PM)
She heard voices, yes, but schizophrenics (and perhaps others, for all I know) hear voices all the time.  And she invested most of her spiritual energies in a highly partisan war of no obvious spiritual merit or benefit.

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I dunno. True, England was still Catholic, but the Anglican rebellion against Rome wasn't a million years off. A number of the priest-martyrs and secret priests of Anglican Britain were trained in or otherwise supported from France. It seems to me not entirely out of the realm of possibility that God might have considered it a good thing that English power wasn't on top at that particular juncture in Anglo-Frankish relations.

QUOTE(Peter T Chattaway @ Nov 9 2005, 05:09 PM)
: The fact that we have partially differing martyrologies is no reason, by my lights, to
: preclude our considering at least some of one another's saints to be true friends of
: Christ and worthy role models.

No worries on that score.  C.S. Lewis is very popular at my church, and I'm sure there are plenty of other non-Orthodox role models we like.  smile.gif

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A non-Orthodox role model is one thing; a Catholic one might be something else. biggrin.gif I suspect the Orthodox have an easier time liking a Protestant than a Catholic, even though (or rather precisely because) Catholics and Orthodox are closer. I wonder if Lewis would still have been popular in your church if he'd poped.

Edited by SDG, 09 November 2005 - 04:55 PM.


#25 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 05:06 PM

SDG wrote:
: 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 wonder if Lewis would still have been popular in your church if he'd poped.

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

#26 SDG

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 07:52 PM

QUOTE(Peter T Chattaway @ Nov 9 2005, 06:06 PM)
: 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

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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.

QUOTE(Peter T Chattaway @ Nov 9 2005, 06:06 PM)
Well, the archpriest cites Tolkien's works in his homilies, too.  smile.gif

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

#27 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 09:12 PM

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"?)

#28 MattPage

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 03:27 AM

Which line?

Matt

#29 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 05:16 AM

From The Untouchables, you mean?

"What are you prepared to do!?"

Though I think he usually misquotes it as, "What are you willing to do!?" or some such thing.

#30 Overstreet

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 04:10 PM

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.



#31 Persona

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 04:17 PM

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, 25 March 2010 - 04:18 PM.


#32 Overstreet

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 04:22 PM

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.

#33 Overstreet

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 05:02 PM

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.

#34 old wave

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 03:26 AM

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.

#35 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 02:35 AM

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.



#36 Tyler

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:43 PM

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, 22 February 2011 - 02:08 PM.


#37 SDG

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 02:24 PM

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!

#38 Tyler

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 03:03 PM

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.

#39 SDG

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 03:11 PM

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).

#40 LibrarianDeb

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 09:24 AM

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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