The Passion of Joan of Arc

I’m watching The Passion of Joan of Arc, durected by Carl Theodor Dreyer. It’s a silent movie from 1928 and obviously all in black and white.

St. Joan is pretty weird lookin in this one. Played by Maria Falconetti (aka Renée Jeanne Falconetti), she’s described as “haunting” in the dust jacket, and I’d have to go with that. Many of her shots are from below, and she has a giant round face. She has very short hair that makes her look like an androgynous man. Her eyes are glazed over with a manic, spacey look that makes her seem like a cult victim. Which I guess arguably she was. They eye-light every shot of her, which gives her eyes a glossy and watery look.

This film has a history – it was heavily censored, and then entirely lost, while the director was still alive. That must have been terrible. He died thinking his movie was gone forever; he tried to cut together another copy made from alternate takes, basically from scraps. Come to think of it, that would be pretty awesome to see also. It could be the lost lost film.

Anyway, recently in 1981 someone found a copy in a closet in a mental institution in Oslo. Uh yeah. The skeptic in me wonders whether this is really the original, since no one alive is around who could tell the diffference.

One nice thing about this release – it has a soundtrack, which is awesome, since obviously the original was lost. The one that comes with the movie is Richard Einhorn’s 1994 “Voices of Light”. However something that is kind of crazy: there are at least two other “soundtracks” for this movie, including two different versions by electronica groups “The Nursery” and “Ugress.” I’m not sure if they’d fit directly with the movie or not.