La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc

[li]La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc[/li][/ul]
There are no words to describe the beauty of this film. Most decidedly one of the greatest, if not the greatest film ever made. Falconetti’s performance is simply awesome. I don’t know what else to say. Let us discuss the film.

I couldn’t let this one fall away without a response.

It is a fabulous film. It’s visually arresting and emotionally compelling. There have been numerous adaptations of the story of Joan of Arc (one starring your Ingrid Bergman), but none can hold a candle to this one.

I’m afraid not many people are willing to sit though silent films, but it’s really a must see for film buffs.

Phtt! It’s not even in color!

Only kidding. For me, Falconetti makes this movie just by the close-ups of her face. Remarkably, none of the actors wore make-up. There are so many ways you can see Jean – insane, witch, heretic – or possibly the only pure thing in a corrupt world.

I think people who had survived WWI could identify with the background of a seemingly endless war, also.

Obviously, I meant to say Jeanne.

Ever since the first of many times I’ve seen this film, it’s hovered among the top one or two in my lifetime topten list.

I’ve had to force many friends to watch it, because they don’t think they can sit through a silent film, but every single one of them has gone on to force others.

I think it’s one of the greatest works of art of this century, and will almost certainly always be one of the greatest cinematic works of all time.

Where’d you finally get a hold of it, Ilsa, to watch it? Have you watched it more than once? you see new things every time.

:o I finally remembered that one of my professors, also a good friend has a library of over 8,000 titles. It had never occurred to me to ask him. I bought Sunrise on DVD, and loaned that to him; he gave me Joan Of Arc, Wings and It on VHS. I just watched it Monday, I’ll watch it again this weekend.
Good to see you back in action, man.

I have seen it three times, and while I admire everything else about the movie, I dislike Falconetti’s performance as Joan, alternating between catatonia, weepiness, and hysteria. So very different from the self-possessed, quick-witted savant created by George Bernard Shaw in his play Saint Joan, who at every verbal parry matched and outmatched her judges at trial.

I have difficulty imaging Falconett’s Joan leading a sewing circle, much less an army.

I’m not normally a big fan of silent films but I caught the beginning of this one and I was captivated. I’m not a film buff or anything but it just looked so good. Unfortunately it was getting late and I had to get to sleep. I’ll be sure to watch it next time I see it on.


Yep, the very image of a peasant teenager on trial for her life before many powerful people who want to kill her and spit on her; self-possessed, quick witted and a savant. Yep, all that verbal parrying like really went on at the trial. :wink:

Excellent film. The saw it shortly after that most recent Joan of Arc movie came out a few years ago. I must agree that new other version compares to La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc.

It did, didn’t it?

It’s been a while since I’ve read a biography of Jeanne, but if I recall, the records of her trial do show that she was amazingly (considering her education, or lack thereof) verbally adept and quick-witted, and that she astonished her judges, who were expecting an easy kill.

One thing that sticks out in my memory is that Jeanne managed to answer an “unanswerable” question. The judges asked if she was in a state of Grace. Had Jeanne said no, it would have “proved” that she was a heretic. If she said yes, then she was blasphemously claiming to know the mind of God. Jeanne replied, “If I am, let God keep me there. If I am not, then let Him bring me to it.”

As to the film, I agree that it is one of haunting beauty. I happened upon it late one night on cable TV, and was entranced. I particularly remember the look of sad resignation on Falconetti’s face in the scene in which Jeanne retracts her confession knowing it means her doom.

I remember the lighting in that scene as being luminous, and shining. It gave the scene an ethereal, almost other-worldly look. She literally shines.

Perhaps you should read the transcripts of her actual trials. She was quick-witted, self-possessed, even sassy, which exasperated her accusers. Example:


For that last quote, keep in mind that she was being tried by a court of English proxies.

Is this the Joan that Falconetti portrays?

Sorry, I can’t resist a few more of Joan’s feisty bon mots:

It, by the way, is one of the most charming comedies ever, and will show you why Clara Bow was a star.

That was Falconetti’s answer, too. I know she was quick witted, but Falconetti just seems like a more reasonable representation than Brett Butler. :stuck_out_tongue:

I am anxious to see It, Eve.

lissener, I seem to remember you saying you were unable to track down Applause; it is now available from Kino On Video.

Word For Word from La Passion.

As Ilsa pointed out, Walloon, the transcripts of Joan’s actual trials were used by Dreyer in Passion. IIRC, the transcripts were in fact the only “script” he used, so all of Joan’s language is there, intact. Falconetti’s performance as a scared, bewildered girl, who has the courage to fulfill what she feels is her god’s demands of her despite her fears, rings far more true than Shaw’s abstracted, cavalier Katherine Hepburn wisecracker. Her performance–just about the entire movie consists of closeups of her face–communicates with eery authenticity what it must have felt like to be chosen by god for a superhuman task, but still to be human and frightened and naive and cornered by hypocrits.

I’m mainly about Falconetti’s performance, not the script. But if you want to talk about the script — no, “all of Joan’s language” is not there in the movie! If you’ll go the hyperlink I gave above to her trial transcripts, you’ll see how the movie doesn’t use one-tenth of it. By the time Joan’s actual testimony is filtered through Dreyer’s selective script and acted by Falconetti, Joan comes off as a weepy, frightened, catatonically depressed creature.

My point, again, is that if you read Joan’s actual testimony (and I’ve read through most of it), you see a brave, self-possessed, sometimes bold and defiant young woman. This is the Joan who could lead an army to battle, not Falconetti’s wimp.

Speaking of Katharine Hepburn and Joan of Arc, in 1934 Hepburn did a screen test, filmed in Technicolor, for a projected version of Shaw’s Saint Joan that never came about. But the screen test survives.

Well, to each his own…