La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (1928)
With its stunning camerawork and striking compositions, Carl Th. Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc convinced the world that movies could be art. Renée Falconetti gives one of the greatest performances ever recorded on film, as the young maiden who died for God and France. Long thought to have been lost to fire, the original version was miraculously found in perfect condition in 1981—in a Norwegian mental institution. Criterion is proud to present this milestone of silent cinema in a new special edition featuring composer Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light, an original opera/oratorio inspired by the film.
Reflecting on having watched this film at least over a year ago, I recall a few things: 1) the actress’ inexhaustive beauty, 2) the superb soundtrack (listen on Spotify or YouTube!), and 3) the otherworldly atmosphere the angles provoke. I was blessed to watch it off a projector, which seemingly absorbs one fully into the film and went fantastically with the close-up shots. Sadly, I have been unable to find it available for free viewing online with the subtitles and music; so, I highly recommend searching this gem out locally. Catch a clip below: