Discussion of movies and ReelThoughts topics

It is currently Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:01 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 27 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928) 
Author Message
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3115
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
Click here for the review of The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Review requested by forum participant "ram1312" after winning the 2009 "Guess Berardinelli" competition.


Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:40 pm
Profile WWW
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
This movie is flawless.


Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:17 pm
Second Unit Director

Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:52 pm
Posts: 271
Location: North Carolina
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
I'm glad JB reviewed this film. Everyone should see it. At one time, Metropolis was my favorite silent film, but one viewing of Passion of Joan of Arc moved it up to the top of the list for me.

One of the amazing things about this movie is how modern it looks. The lack of makeup, the rapid cuts, and highly realistic closeup shots makes it look more like a movie from the sixties, just with the sound turned off.

The commentary on the DVD is outstanding. For example, you learn that this was a very expensive film for its time, and almost all the budget went into the construction of an authentic 15th century French village, which Dreyer used to get his actors "in the proper mood." Ironically, virtually none of this village is seen in the film, which focuses almost entirely on interior closeup shots.


Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:21 am
Profile
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
I just saw this will be screened at SXSW with a live score. I haven't seen the film, and I haven't read the review yet. Needless to say, I am pretty excited.


Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:40 pm
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:35 am
Posts: 2017
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
My top silent film, and Maria Falconetti's is my best performance by an actress silent or otherwise.

_________________
Evil does not wear a bonnet!--Mr. Tinkles


Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:28 pm
Profile
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
Sounds like a goodie. I'll try to catch this whenever I have the time. Great choice, Ram.


Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:41 pm
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
The posting of the review, James' thoughts, and the comments on this thread have all made me a lot more excited to watch this. I think when I finish my decade retrospective, I'm going to do a Dreyer focus within the Scandinavia focus I've been slumped in for so long.


Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:22 pm
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
Pedro wrote:
The posting of the review, James' thoughts, and the comments on this thread have all made me a lot more excited to watch this. I think when I finish my decade retrospective, I'm going to do a Dreyer focus within the Scandinavia focus I've been slumped in for so long.


I actually didn't read the review. I figure it's spoiler heavy and an in depth analysis. I really appreciate that James took the review so seriously and it sounds like something I'll savour after I watch the movie.


Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:35 pm
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
She speaks with her eyes in ways that mere dialogue could not achieve.

And that is the enduring quality, of many, in this film. Maria Falconetti's eyes carry this film. She is absolutely mesmerizing.

The "reliance upon close-ups" added an extra layer to the story for me. Specifically, the close-ups of characters that said nothing. It's not so often in the modern movie that you see a director do this for nearly 80% of the film. Maybe that was the non-talkie's director biggest hurdle...powerful, emotional storytelling without dialogue, or sound, or special-effects, or color, etc. Maybe that's why this movie resonates with me...it's simple power.

A great review Mr. B. My curiousity of your thoughts on this film was thoroughly satisfied. I really did not expect such a long review, but I am grateful.

Mr. B...have had the opportunity to see any other of Dreyer's films? I know that Phil had mentioned Day of Wrath and you mentioned Vampyr in the review.


Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:33 pm
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:17 pm
Posts: 529
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
I'm curious... except for his qualm over the ending rebellion, why was this a 3.5 star film? To me, this review read like a modern look back on a very well respected and important film, and that one issue didn't seem important enough to bring it down to 3.5. Especially with the inclusion of the ratings by Sight and Sound, the 3.5 seems a little out of place. So... why not 4?

Then again, I can understand why James would underrate some films. When I was doing the cinematic journey this summer, I went from 1-50 or so on the list, and I didn't often find a 4 star movie. But when I look at the ratings I gave over the summer, I often see that my respect has improved over time. I think that when you see too many of these great movies in a row, you become overwhelmed.


Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:47 am
Profile
Director
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:56 pm
Posts: 1077
Location: Warner Robins, GA
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
I saw this one time. I was absolutely mesmerized by it, especially the closeups of her face. Was this really Falconetti's only film?


Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:27 am
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3115
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
ram1312 wrote:

Mr. B...have had the opportunity to see any other of Dreyer's films? I know that Phil had mentioned Day of Wrath and you mentioned Vampyr in the review.


I have seen VAMPYR but not DAY OF WRATH. And it's been a long time since I saw VAMPYR. Back in the late '90s, I went on a silent film binge, getting my hands on everything I could that was available on DVD, laserdisc, and VHS. VAMPYR was in that group (as was THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC). I think you have to watch a few dozen silent films before you start appreciating them as something more than an archaic art form.


Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:19 am
Profile WWW
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3115
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
DylnFan96818 wrote:
I saw this one time. I was absolutely mesmerized by it, especially the closeups of her face. Was this really Falconetti's only film?


Yes. She disliked the format; most of her career (both before and after THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC) was spent on stage.


Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:20 am
Profile WWW
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3115
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
darthyoshi wrote:
I'm curious... except for his qualm over the ending rebellion, why was this a 3.5 star film? To me, this review read like a modern look back on a very well respected and important film, and that one issue didn't seem important enough to bring it down to 3.5. Especially with the inclusion of the ratings by Sight and Sound, the 3.5 seems a little out of place. So... why not 4?

Then again, I can understand why James would underrate some films. When I was doing the cinematic journey this summer, I went from 1-50 or so on the list, and I didn't often find a 4 star movie. But when I look at the ratings I gave over the summer, I often see that my respect has improved over time. I think that when you see too many of these great movies in a row, you become overwhelmed.


It all gets back to what the 4-star rating means. Four star films reside in my upper echelon of personal favorites. They are the movies that either pack an emotional punch from which recovery is difficult or that delight me in a way that compels me to return to them again and again. Technically flawless films don't necessarily merit four stars, and many of the films I have given four stars are imperfect. Ratings are not objective, they are subjective. If I was going to attempt a subjective rating for THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, it would doubtlessly get four stars, but that's not the way I work. The film impresses me. It is an amazing piece of art. But it did not move me to tears. It did not "rock my world," so to speak. And, after watching it twice for the review, I'm content not to re-watch it for another five or more years.

Maybe the best way to think of my scale is that it ranges from 0.5 stars to 3.5 stars. Only on extremely rare occasions do I reach out for the zero-star or four-star rating.


Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:26 am
Profile WWW
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
James Berardinelli wrote:
darthyoshi wrote:
I'm curious... except for his qualm over the ending rebellion, why was this a 3.5 star film? To me, this review read like a modern look back on a very well respected and important film, and that one issue didn't seem important enough to bring it down to 3.5. Especially with the inclusion of the ratings by Sight and Sound, the 3.5 seems a little out of place. So... why not 4?

Then again, I can understand why James would underrate some films. When I was doing the cinematic journey this summer, I went from 1-50 or so on the list, and I didn't often find a 4 star movie. But when I look at the ratings I gave over the summer, I often see that my respect has improved over time. I think that when you see too many of these great movies in a row, you become overwhelmed.


It all gets back to what the 4-star rating means. Four star films reside in my upper echelon of personal favorites. They are the movies that either pack an emotional punch from which recovery is difficult or that delight me in a way that compels me to return to them again and again. Technically flawless films don't necessarily merit four stars, and many of the films I have given four stars are imperfect. Ratings are not objective, they are subjective. If I was going to attempt a subjective rating for THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, it would doubtlessly get four stars, but that's not the way I work. The film impresses me. It is an amazing piece of art. But it did not move me to tears. It did not "rock my world," so to speak. And, after watching it twice for the review, I'm content not to re-watch it for another five or more years.

Maybe the best way to think of my scale is that it ranges from 0.5 stars to 3.5 stars. Only on extremely rare occasions do I reach out for the zero-star or four-star rating.

This is one reason you're the best around, James.


Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:35 pm
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
Silent cinema peaked and died with this movie. Everything the non-sound art form was capable of is epitomized by this movie, even moreso than by Sunrise or Metropolis or any of the others. It is still the stand-out motion picture of 1928, along perhaps with Vidor's The Crowd and Seatrom's The Wind. Not much going on in 1929, and in 1930 it's sound city with All Quiet on the Western Front and The Blue Angel. If I were teaching a class on silent cinema, I would start with Birth of a Nation and end with Passion.


Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:53 pm
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
James Berardinelli wrote:
darthyoshi wrote:
I'm curious... except for his qualm over the ending rebellion, why was this a 3.5 star film? To me, this review read like a modern look back on a very well respected and important film, and that one issue didn't seem important enough to bring it down to 3.5. Especially with the inclusion of the ratings by Sight and Sound, the 3.5 seems a little out of place. So... why not 4?

Then again, I can understand why James would underrate some films. When I was doing the cinematic journey this summer, I went from 1-50 or so on the list, and I didn't often find a 4 star movie. But when I look at the ratings I gave over the summer, I often see that my respect has improved over time. I think that when you see too many of these great movies in a row, you become overwhelmed.


It all gets back to what the 4-star rating means. Four star films reside in my upper echelon of personal favorites. They are the movies that either pack an emotional punch from which recovery is difficult or that delight me in a way that compels me to return to them again and again. Technically flawless films don't necessarily merit four stars, and many of the films I have given four stars are imperfect. Ratings are not objective, they are subjective. If I was going to attempt a subjective rating for THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, it would doubtlessly get four stars, but that's not the way I work. The film impresses me. It is an amazing piece of art. But it did not move me to tears. It did not "rock my world," so to speak. And, after watching it twice for the review, I'm content not to re-watch it for another five or more years.

Maybe the best way to think of my scale is that it ranges from 0.5 stars to 3.5 stars. Only on extremely rare occasions do I reach out for the zero-star or four-star rating.



Totally agree with this last paragraph. Too many people and critics award too many perfect scores. It just makes them meaningless.
Rob


Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:45 pm
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
ram1312 wrote:
She speaks with her eyes in ways that mere dialogue could not achieve.

And that is the enduring quality, of many, in this film. Maria Falconetti's eyes carry this film. She is absolutely mesmerizing.

The "reliance upon close-ups" added an extra layer to the story for me. Specifically, the close-ups of characters that said nothing. It's not so often in the modern movie that you see a director do this for nearly 80% of the film. Maybe that was the non-talkie's director biggest hurdle...powerful, emotional storytelling without dialogue, or sound, or special-effects, or color, etc. Maybe that's why this movie resonates with me...it's simple power.

A great review Mr. B. My curiousity of your thoughts on this film was thoroughly satisfied. I really did not expect such a long review, but I am grateful.

Mr. B...have had the opportunity to see any other of Dreyer's films? I know that Phil had mentioned Day of Wrath and you mentioned Vampyr in the review.



Ram
Thanks for selecting this one
Rob


Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:15 am
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
Robert Holloway wrote:
ram1312 wrote:
She speaks with her eyes in ways that mere dialogue could not achieve.

And that is the enduring quality, of many, in this film. Maria Falconetti's eyes carry this film. She is absolutely mesmerizing.

The "reliance upon close-ups" added an extra layer to the story for me. Specifically, the close-ups of characters that said nothing. It's not so often in the modern movie that you see a director do this for nearly 80% of the film. Maybe that was the non-talkie's director biggest hurdle...powerful, emotional storytelling without dialogue, or sound, or special-effects, or color, etc. Maybe that's why this movie resonates with me...it's simple power.

A great review Mr. B. My curiousity of your thoughts on this film was thoroughly satisfied. I really did not expect such a long review, but I am grateful.

Mr. B...have had the opportunity to see any other of Dreyer's films? I know that Phil had mentioned Day of Wrath and you mentioned Vampyr in the review.



Ram
Thanks for selecting this one
Rob


Seriously Rob...thank you.

I caught wind of this film through the Great Film threads. It opened up my eyes to films outside of anything that I knew.


Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:22 am
Post Re: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928)
Interesting and well reasoned review. Regarding a couple of JB observations, first about "Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light oratorio as the accompaniment...some purists argue that since Dreyer was not involved in the composition of the score, it is somehow "invalid". I frankly have not heard anyone make this arguement, and for a film with no "official" score, it seems to me that it could only be argued to be as valid as any serious attempt to provide a score, and that any score that would be judged by most audience members to support the visuals of the film would be much better than no score at all!

As for saying that "It's hard to imagine anyone today arguing its place in the pantheon of Silent Olympians", as someone who has seen hundreds of silent films over the years and mingled with lots of folk similarly inclined, this is not something I find it at all hard to imagine.

This is a highly controversial, love it or hate it film among silent film enthusiasts. In various on-line and in person discussions I have encountered various seemingly intelegent people who went on at rhapsodic lenth on the greatness of JOAN, while others who appeared equally astute compared the experience of viewing the film to watching paint dry. In the latter category are included a well known silent film accompanist, and a classic film buff who has for over 40 years helped run an annual film festival prominently featuring silents.

it just goes to further emphasise what a totally subjective activity film appreciation is (and also how risky it would be to recommend Dryer's JOAN to a friend, enless you know them very, very well!)

Steve


Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:36 pm
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 27 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forum/DivisionCore.
Translated by Xaphos © 2007, 2008, 2009 phpBB.fr