94. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

passionDirected by Carl Theodor Dreyer

Written by Joseph Delteil and Carl Theodor Dreyer

Starring Renee Jeanne Falconetti, Eugenen Silvain, Andre Berley and Maurice Schutz

Country: France

Release Date: April 21, 1928

Why you should see it?

This is a very important silence film because its consider a landmark in film’s production as the first super production. The film is based on the original transcription of the trials and execution of Joan of Arc.

This movie has, at its time, the most expensive set ever built for a European production, it costs around seven million francs. The movie is the epitome of silent films because the camera is just a medium to capture the essence of the character and the expression of Renee Falconetti. She only made this film, but it is one of the most famous actress of the silence era.

For me, personally, is a very important film because this was one of the films my parents considered important enough and relevant to see that they wake me at 2:00 am of a school day and the production’s book is the first film book I got.

PLOT

Joan is brought to trial. Her judges try to make her say something that will discredit her claim or shake her belief that she has been given a mission by God to drive the English from France, but she remains steadfast. One or two of them, believing that she is indeed a saint, support her. The authorities then resort to deception. A priest reads to the illiterate prisoner a false letter supposedly from her king, telling her to trust in the bearer. When that too fails, Joan is taken to view the torture chamber, but the sight, though it causes her to faint, does not intimidate her. When she is threatened with burning at the stake, she finally breaks and allows a priest to guide her hand in signing a confession. However, she soon recants and is publicly executed.

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