The past two nights, I have inadvertently watched two, count 'em, two, films featuring Joan of Arc. When I flipped on TCM for Silent Movie Sundays last night, I couldn't believe what an incredible film I was treated to. Carl Theodore Dreyer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc" The most stunning close-ups of flawed and wrinkled faces, and the face of Maria Falconetti moved me to the core.

From the TCM website, here are some critics' ideas about Falconetti and the film itself; "She, it is true, has been guided with veritable genius by Mr. Dreyer, but as one witnesses her eyes filling with tears or perceives a faint graceful smile crossing her appealing countenance, one feels that it would be difficult indeed to elicit from any other actress such an eloquent interpretation as she gives in this production." Pauline Kael later wrote: "One of the greatest of all movies....No other film has so subtly linked eroticism with religious persecution. Falconetti's Joan may be the finest performance ever recorded on film."

I didn't really know much about this movie or its director except for the fact that kooky Lars Von Trier claims to have actually channeled Dreyer's spirit to help him direct his own film, "Medea." Hmm. Perhaps the director of my next Joan of Arc-themed film could have used a little spiritual guidance from Dreyer. Or not.

My feelings about tonight's film, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, are also very strong; when Jane Weidlin's Joan of Arc uses the power of prayer to summon the traveling telephone booth, I feel compelled to triumphantly riff on my air guitar. Excellent, dudes!


Derek said...

I just recently watched that film for the first time myself! Isn't it amazing! The close-ups and camera movements were incredable, so simple and so effective. It made me want to watch the rest of Dryer's films.
As for Bill and Ted's.. I really need to rediscover those films, the mise-en-scene, if I remember was breathtaking.
For the love of God,

Ray said...

Didn't Joan of Arc do a guest spot on "The Streets of San Francisco" starring Karl Malden and ???

ted said...

So if it's true about von Trier, then C.T. Dreyer was a pompous, self absorbed jackass?