Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Directed by: CARL DREYER
1928, TSPDT Rank #20

This is the type of movie that you know deserves to be high up on a list of great films, because it just has this aura around it. It was thought to be a lost film, until someone found the sole remaining print (the negative had been burned in a fire) of this silent Danish film in a mental hospital in Norway, in 1985 (no joke), after which it was restored by the French Cinematheque. First of all, Renee Falconetti's acting is one of the greatest performances - intense, desperate, and even scary at times, while still completely sympathetic, not over the top in the stereotypical silent film way, and without any words!!! Probably the greatest acting anyone ever pulled off with just facial expressions. I watched the movie with no music, and although I feel it tends to get pretty repetitive, it is often very hypnotic, and the camerawork is quite innovative. But I've heard the Criterion release has some pretty good music along with the movie, so I would most likely recommend that. It might make the movie easier to get into. But this movie is definitely essential in learning about silent films, acting, and film in general.

(Rating: 8/10)

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