Northern Ireland


18 May

The Passion of Jon of Arc (Dir. Carl Theodore Dreyer, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 82 mins)  In 1926 Danish film director Dreyer was invited to make a film in France by the Societe Generale des Films and chose to direct a film about Joan of Arc, due to her renewed popularity in France (having been canonised as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in 1920 and subsequently adopted as one of the patron saints of France).  Apparently discarding a script provided by the Societe, Dreyer spent over a year researching Joan of Arc including study of the actual transcripts of her trial before producing a script of his own.  In the title role Dreyer cast the little-known stage actress Renee Jeanne Falconnetti who had previously acted in just two previous, inconsequential films, both back in 1917.  The film focuses upon the trial and eventual execution of Joan of Arc after she is captured by the English.  Although not a popular success at the time, the film attracted immediate critical praise.  The New York Times critic wrote “…as a film work of art, this takes precedence over anything so far produced.  It makes worthy pictures of the past look like tinsel shams.  It fills one with such intense admiration that other pictures appear but trivial in comparison.” Falconnetti’s performance has been widely lauded with critic Pauline Kael writing in 1982 that her portrayal “…may be the finest performance ever recorded on film.”  The film was subsequently re-edited against Dreyer’s wishes and his original version was long thought lost.  But in 1981 a near perfect copy was found in the attic of a psychiatric hospital in Oslo.  The Passion of Joan of Arc now regularly appears in ‘Top Ten’ lists not just of silent films but best films of all time.  Find out more at .   Accompanied by a new, original live score by musicians Heliopause & This Ship Argo.  MAC, Belfast  Link

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