The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 26, 2007
Tonight, Sunday 7/22 Midnight E.S.T.

Turner Classics
Super Reviewer
½ December 21, 2013
Very simple and minimalistic, yet very compelling and harrowing.

What I found intriguing - and a bit bizarre, knowing how meticulous Dreyer could be - was that single shot where one of the priests was clearly seen wearing 20th century glasses. Why would he have left it in? Was it a reference to someone?
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2011
With breathtaking visuals and a potent story, it's hard to believe this was released in 1928.
Super Reviewer
½ February 25, 2011
Four stars for the film, an extra half of a star for how utterly brilliant Falconetti is. Whether it was Dreyer's idea to make her kneel upon stone or her own prowess in acting that allowed her to give such a painfully passionate and nuanced performance, it is simply breathtaking. As for the film itself, it really never lets you go. Without any establishing shots, the viewer is plunged face first into the drama. From the accusers to the accused, there is a real sense of vehemence that all of the actors exude.
It is passionate, relentless, and beautiful all at the same time. While I don't think I will revisit this more than one time in a decade, It is none the less an important film and displays the power that actors such as Falconetti can have in a film.
Super Reviewer
November 24, 2010
Wow, this movie is beautifully made. I highly recommend seeing this movie, it's intensely dramatic, and visually brilliant, and the actors are just perfect. I loved it.
Super Reviewer
September 8, 2010
What is there to say? There are literally no flaws in this movie. This is film history, living and breathing with unapproachable grace. Allegory, political piece, religious parable; it can be all of them and it can be none, but it is a profound emotional statement about the nature of faith and the faithful above all.

An absolute essential.
Super Reviewer
July 24, 2007
Maria Falconetti strips her soul before the lens and makes us witnesses of all the anguish and powerlessness suffered by the martyr of france in the sunset of her life.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2009

Director Carl Dreyer's true medium is the landscape of the human face. His film is carried by the close-up, by the texture of skin and the conveyance of a teardrop. Maria Falconetti's magnificent eyes. The weathered, bloated faces of her persecutors. All contrasted against blank walls and minimalist sets.


Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
November 28, 2009
The Passion of Joan of Arc, like most passion plays, recounts the final hours leading up to someone's final destruction at the hands of injustice, in this case St. Joan of Arc, one of the patron saints of France. Director Carl Theodor Dreyer faced a special problem when making a silent film out of what is basically a "courtroom drama", and that is how to tell a story which relies so heavily on words while using only visuals. His solution was to bring the cameras in close, focusing in on the actors' faces in the most intimate way possible. Emotions that would be lost in wider crowd scenes become the focal point of the story-telling. Joan's (Maria Falconetti) stoic expression rapidly shifts to wide-eyed moments of terror as the men who sit in judgement froth and foam at the mouth. We watch this movie with the knowledge of Joan's fate (or at least we should), and we watch the wheels turn inexorably towards her doom, and one can't help but reflect on the pointlessness of religious persecution. The faces seem cut out of wood blocks or a Pieter Bruegel the Elder painting, the angelic Joan vs. the sneering medieval mob. It may require a little patience for modern sensibilities, but in the end, it's worth the effort.
Super Reviewer
June 12, 2007
Silent French film based of the transcripts of the trial of Joan of Arc. I just saw this again, for the fourth time. Renee Maria Falconetti's performance as Joan of Arc is astounding. It's so good you almost can't believe you're not watching news footage of the actual trial. Is this the best filmed performance ever? It's hard to believe this was her only film. The mind reels at what else she could have done had she stayed in the film business. But almost as effective is the end when Joan is burned at the stake. It is done in fairly graphic detail for the time, and it makes you feel totally emotionally drained after sitting through it. But even more it made me question the motives of a religious institution that would put someone through an ordeal like this, supposedly with God's approval. If you never see another silent film in your life, see this one. And make sure to see the version with Richard Einhorn's newly-composed "Voices of Light" score.
Super Reviewer
May 23, 2006
Simply and utterly gorgeous. A silent gem that shows how far cinema can go on simply visuals. Mainly told in close ups, the performances are just restrained enough to avoid the comical silent overacting. An artistic masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
October 2, 2013
One of the most intriguing silent films created. Falconetti's facial expressions make up for the lack of sound and conveys the full emotional range of Joan through her trial and execution.
Super Reviewer
½ July 31, 2011
An immensely dynamic performance at the core of the film solidifies it as an all time great. The soul knows what is right. The flesh has gone through immense sorrow and torture. The flesh is never hopeful, only faithful. Utterly sincere. The close ups will always remind you that emotions run high, grace is higher.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2011
A masterpiece of the silent film era, The Passion of Joan of Arc is brought to life with an amazing and the only performance by Renee Maria Falconetti. This honesty is perfectly captured on Falconetti's face and really captures the emotional turmoil of Joan of Arc and really portrays her character with an unheard of sense of realism. Director Carl Theodor Dreyer, whose films are always a beautiful display of black and white evocative imagery, delivers what is considered his greatest work and one of the greatest films ever made with The Passions of Joan of Arc! He captures the real story of Joan of Arc in medium and close-up shots that are more a series of images than the usual flow associated with filming, and no establishing shots are seen but instead we are thrown straight into the circumstance of Joan of Arc. The film is minimalistic in it's story but beautifully filmed and each shot is done with great care and complexity. This is an amazing and haunting piece of cinema and is amazing considering there is no audio or sound whatsoever, only imagery and really that's all it needs, however a score was inspired and made for the film as well. A must see If you are into cinema and want a masterful film viewing of the Silent Film era!
Super Reviewer
½ February 23, 2013
The Passion Of Joan of Arc is an amazing film in the arthouse sense. I mean it was phenomenally made and flawless in technical senses. The performance by Fallconetti was brilliant, and has hardly ever been matched in the sound days. Despite being from the 20s this film used modern techniques in filming. So yes I applaud this film in its accomplishments, but I don't think I will ever watch this again. For one thing I never found the tale of Joan of Arc at all interesting. It's probably because my lack of any spiritual life, so while this might be a personal problem, but then again I am giving this a personal rating. If I would still award art house ratings this would be around a 4 star . But with with disinterest of historical hero Joan of Arc, a movie about her trial also served me little. I'd rather be watching Mulan.
Super Reviewer
July 6, 2010
I don't count myself as a particularly religious person, but regardless this is one of the most emotionally powerful films I've ever seen. I love that the film is entirely about Joan's trial and therefore serves as a metaphor for just about every form of persecution imaginable. Joan's torture is psychological and at the hands of corrupt religious officials. The performance of Renee Maria Falconetti is wonderful, she makes you emotionally connect with a woman who might well be insane, but she believes so strongly you cannot help but be on her side. Carl Theodor Dreyer put together some of the most haunting and beautiful images ever put on screen.
Super Reviewer
February 28, 2008
The film is an example of great direction and its concentration on the trial of Joan of Arc shot largely in close-ups achieves a perceptive, poignant and an extraordinary intensity. It is convincing historically while also representing a wider comment on the persecution of those who threaten the status quo.
Super Reviewer
December 13, 2007
The best silent film ever made, bar none. Whether you're a Christian or an atheist, whether or not you believe God actually spoke to Jean D'Arc, Maria Falconetti gives a performance that will rip out you heart and put a lump in your throat. Mel Gibson's "Passion" of a certain other biblical figure doesn't hold a candle to this one. What happened to Jean D'Arc is the true epitome of suffering, more so of mind than body, and it's captured in this movie beautifully.
Super Reviewer
May 8, 2007
There has never been a testament to pain and endurance as profoundly affecting as "The Passion of Joan of Arc". It is a singular, hypnotic achievement held together by the otherworldly Maria Falconetti. It is fitting that this was her sole screen appearance as she delivered what is may well be the single greatest performance ever commited to film. To stare into her eyes is to be forever haunted. It aches to meet her gaze yet it is impossible not to.
Super Reviewer
October 6, 2011
Watched this for my Film History course. Not a proper review, just saying it\s probably the best silent film I've ever seen.
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