Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Renee Falconetti
Eugene Silvain
Antonin Artaud
Maurice Schutz.
Directors
Carl Theodor Dreyer.
Screenwriters
Running Time
100 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Keeper Of Lost Causes, The
3 Star Empire Rating
If I Stay
2 Star Empire Rating
Let's Be Cops
3 Star Empire Rating
Obvious Child
4 Star Empire Rating
Million Dollar Arm
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

The Passion Of Joan Of Arc
1928 humblingly powerful silent movie from Carl Theodor Dreyer.


submit to reddit


Plot
Captured by the Burgundian allies of her English enemies, Joan of Arc is tried for heresy and witchcraft by Bishop Pierre Cauchon. Fearing for her life, she withdraws claims to have seen visions of St Michael, only to disavow her recantation and is burned at the stake on 30 May 1431.


Review

Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer supposedly chose this drama of a soul over biopics of Catherine de Medici and Marie Antoinette by drawing matchsticks. However, he soon became immersed in the material and spent months researching Joan of Arc's life before basing his screenplay - which compressed 29 sessions spread over three months into five in a single day - on Pierre Champion's 1921 version of the trial records.

         Denied the opportunity to use sound, yet still armed with a budget of seven million francs, Dreyer commissioned art directors Hermann Warm and Jean Hugo to build a vast cement castle between Montrouge and Petit Clamart in the Parisian suburbs and hired an abandoned car plant at Billancourt to shoot his interiors. Ultimately, little of these imposing sets were seen, but Dreyer wanted his cast to experience an authentic medieval environment.

         Lillian Gish was briefly considered for the title role before Dreyer saw Renée Falconetti in a boulevard comedy and was convinced that she has the ability to `abstract from reality in order to reinforce its spiritual content'. He filmed her without make-up and reportedly treated her shabbily on set to elicit the right degree of persecuted suffering. But, whatever Dreyer's methods, her display of `realised mysticism' clearly came from within and her sole screen appearance remains one of cinema's greatest.

         Filming in strict chronological order, after extensive rehearsal, Dreyer often demanded countless retakes to capture precise emotions. Digging trenches to achieve low-angle perspectives, he had cinematographer Rudolph Maté shoot his typage cast with high-contrast lighting and in tight close-up to emphasise the expressions that best conveyed the unrelenting intensity of Joan's interrogation. However, this is far from the exercise in still photography that some have claimed, as Dreyer made subtle use of pans, tilts, subjective angles, cross-cutting and montage to place the viewer at the heart of Joan's ordeal, which was made all the more disconcerting by the absence of spatial certainty.

             The Archbishop of Paris demanded numerous cuts. Yet, despite positive reviews, the film proved a commercial failure and Dreyer disowned all subsequent reconstructions of what remains a deeply moving masterpiece.


Verdict
Never again would, silent film director, Dreyers vision be so humblingly powerful or so purely cinematic. One of the most inspired and inspiring films ever made.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Passion Of Joan Of Arc
Empire Star Rating

"Has God made you promises?"

Permeating with religious symbolism, Carl Theodor Dreyer's The Passion Of Joan Of Arc remains a powerful and heartrending film, silent or otherwise, and Renee Falconetti gives one of the finest performances of cinema history. Marvelous. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 22:21, 01 October 2013 | Report This Post


"Has God made you promises?"

Permeating with religious symbolism, Carl Theodor Dreyer's The Passion Of Joan Of Arc remains a powerful and heartrending film, silent or otherwise, and Renee Falconetti gives one of the finest performances of cinema history. Marvelous. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 22:18, 01 October 2013 | Report This Post


Stunning

The fact that there are still many movies made today that are nowhere near as cinematic as this haunting masterpiece is a testament to its ever-lasting power. Falconetti gives one of the most heartbreaking performances ever put on screen. Simply breathtaking. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Gittes at 13:17, 27 February 2013 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Gamescom 2014: The 10 Most Exciting Games
Zombies! Guns! Tombs! Sheep! Watch the trailers right here...

Who Is Mack Bolan? Your Guide To Cinema's New Action Man
As Bradley Cooper lines up to star as the hero, here's your handy guide to his story so far

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)