LA PASSION DE JEANNE D’ARC / THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC

In 1927, Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer, the director whom
James Agee would later call “one of the few moralists, and classi-
cists, and incorruptible artists, in movies,” was invited to make a film
in France. He settled on the story of Joan of Arc and spent a year
researching her life, drawing primarily from the transcripts of her
trial. The resulting account of her trial and execution stands as one
of the towering achievements of the silent cinema and has consis-
tently been voted one of the best films of all time. Like all truly great
works of art, The Passion of Joan of Arc is full of paradoxes, yielding
a blend of expressionism and realism that is both deeply mystical and
utterly material, astonishingly abstract and unflinchingly carnal. These
conflicting yet complimentary impulses are the result of Dreyer’s
innovative methods, but perhaps the secret to The Passion’s enduring
place in film culture is the trance-like performance by stage actress
Renée Falconetti as Joan. In some of the most glorious close-ups in
cinema, Falconetti’s wide eyes express all the pain, strength, and in-
extinguishable faith of a woman hounded by a society of men. As such,
her performance continues to speak to our time.

DIRECTOR
Carl Theodor Dreyer

SCREENPLAY
Carl Theodor Dreyer

CAST
Renée Falconetti
Eugène Silvain
Antonin Artaud

DETAILS
Drama
French
81 min.
France, 1928
DCP, Blu-Ray, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Janus Films

PRICE RANGE
$200-$300