Saturday, 23 May 2009

La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc

Every Monday there is a screening at school, a chance to see films we often have never seen and sometimes never even heard of. This week they screened Joan of Arc, Directed in 1928 by Carl Dreyer. It tells the story of the trial of Joan of Arc after she was captured by the English during the 100 years war.

The film is completely silent but was accompanied by a composition called Voices of Light by Richard Einhorn which was amazing. It contained a libretto based on excerpts of ancient writings which gave the film a very spiritual atmosphere and only served to heighten all the moments of Joan's muted suffering against her captors frustration and anger.

The whole film consists almost entirely of close-ups so all emotion is internalised, expressed entirely by the face. All the actors wore no makeup so it has a very raw feel to it (especially compared to other silent films of the time where everything seems very theatrical).

I've included a couple of screen grabs from a very emotional scene in the film. At the moment we're currently in pre-production to begin our character animation projects so it was fascinating to watch just how much emotion can be communicated to the audience using only muted close-ups of characters.

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