Thursday, February 10, 2005

Out of a Danish Closet

A most amazing film was re-released in its entirety after being lost (or left unwittingly) for 75 years in the closet of a Danish psychiatric hospital. "The Passion of Joan of Arc," directed by Denmark's Carl Theodor Dreyer and first released in 1927, was the big-budget French film of its time. I've forgotten exactly why the original version was lost, but some edited variations were still shown over the years but these never quite matched Dreyer's original cut. I saw it on DVD from the local rental place, and this is helpful, because you can watch it with or without the new score Voices of Light by Richard Einhorn. (Each viewing is powerful in its own way.) Most moving of all is the performance of Maria Falconetti, who plays the title role of Joan, somewhat teetering on the edge of despair but always grounded in her absolute faith. The closeup shots of the good, the bad, and the ugly characters--something for everyone!--and the cinematography in general are profoundly beautiful in their starkness.

(Hey, I ain't Pauline Kael, but I know what I'm talking about.)

In a museum once, I was viewing a series of paintings about St Joan of Arc with a scholarly friend, who mused that if it weren't for her military exploits, France would have fallen under the English and would be a very different place after Henry VIII's "troubles." ('Oh, Harry, what mischief you have visited upon your kingdom!') In any case, click on the following for more erudite links (than mine!) to Joan of Arc.


Blogger Gone Away said...

Very interesting, Mr Clinkers (may I call you Blue?). You have made me want to see the film which, I suppose, was your intention. Excellent, mission accomplished.

2/10/2005 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Clinkers said...

Cool! You won't be disappointed!

2/10/2005 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

Glad that Joan finally came out of the closet.

2/10/2005 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/10/2005 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Clinkers said...

Hmmm.Wouldn't go quite that far, Remainderman. Though lawyers will be interestd to know that Joan was re-jailed, I believe, on a technicality: she refused to wear anything but men's clothes. (This of course to preserve her modesty considering the circumstances.)

2/10/2005 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Hannah said...

I too, would be in jail. It is impossible to play the cello with a skirt. One must, of course, use a bow.

2/13/2005 11:50:00 PM  

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