Spiritual rapture and institutional hypocrisy are brought to stark, vivid life in one of the most transcendent achievements of the silent era. Chronicling the trial of Joan of Arc in the final hours leading up to her execution, Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer depicts her torment with startling immediacy, employing an array of techniques—including expressionistic lighting, interconnected sets, and painfully intimate close-ups—to immerse viewers in her subjective experience. Anchoring Dreyer’s audacious formal experimentation is a legendary performance by Renée Falconetti, whose haunted face channels both the agony and the ecstasy of martyrdom. Thought to have been lost to fire, the film’s original version was miraculously found in perfect condition in 1981 in a Norwegian mental institution, heightening the mythic status of this widely revered masterwork.
Long available only in rare prints that necessitated live accompaniment, THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC returns to screens in a new restoration, partnered with Richard Einhorn’s acclaimed score, Voices of Light, for the first time theatrically.
A companion to the Belcourt’s presentation of THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, this seminar on Jan 30 will discuss the ways Joan of Arc’s story has been told and retold throughout the history of cinema. How is it that this young woman's 15th century narrative remains a contemporary cultural touchstone? And why is this story of a triumphant military leader and martyred saint so often used as a means for directors to work through issues about women and authority? Join us as we explore the cinematic legacy of the Maid of Orléans. Led by film critic Jason Shawhan.