Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sight & Sound Challenge: The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Film: The Passion of Joan of Arc (117/250) 
First Time/Rewatch: First Time

This was my first time seeing this, although it felt like I had already seen it based on how iconic that image of her face in extreme close-up is. It makes up a majority of the film, and yet it was still completely mesmerizing. The story of Joan of Arc is one of faith being put to the ultimate test. And this film is all about faces: Maria Falconetti has a face that in one minute looks completely deranged, then sorrowful; she weeps with complete believability. The faces of her accusers are hard, lined, the shadows falling deep into the creases around their eyes and mouths. I love the look of Carl Th. Dreyer's films; they are quickly becoming standouts for me as I make my way through this list. The stark minimalism of the sets, the light and shadows, it all helps me focus on the story as all the frills are stripped away. And what a sad story...regardless of your faith or lack thereof, imagine how scary the world must have been when people were executed for things like this. The fear creeping like shadows across an unfeeling man's face. 

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