Friday, September 24, 2004

Notes on "The Passion of Joan of Arc" by Dreyer

If it was up to me, I would not see this film. I don't now how many versions of it I've seen. The Milla Jovivitch one, The Lelee Sobieski one, The cheap mexican one, etc...

I got 5 or 10 minutes late to class (as always). I have a tendency to get lost in this laberynthic style buildings. I sometimes think that the security guards are watching me as a scientist observes his lab rat. Abe was talking about Peeping Tom and the theory we had read. Showed us some clips of the movie with voice over of Mulvey. Interesting, plus some gossip regarding the movie director and actor.

Afterwards, he presented the movie and asked if we wanted to watch it with audio or sans audio. I didn't have a choice, actually, but afterwards I thought it was an excellent idea to see it with music (if not, I would fall asleep). Music soundtracks do make the difference! Thank God for them! Especially the Wes Andreson and Tarantino ones ( I sound so like my generation, of pseudo rebels).

These were my observations and comments about this version:

-Joan is the only woman. Surrounded by man during trial.
-Dressed as a man. Not until she accomplishes her mission will she dress like a maiden (she looked good that way, couldnt see her any other way! Dressed up for martyrdom!)
-She is blasphemous in the eyes of english priests.
-Young and scared (emma thompson would look like her when young)
-Loveley use of photography and light... expressionist
-The windows cast a shadow on the floor, its a cross. When Joan sees it, she feels enlighted again as if it was a sign from above. It comforts her (but everything is inside your brain baby!)
-Wooden crown, her sight is lost in the sky, her face shows frustration, anguish, exhaustion.
-Close ups all the time (no landscape or background.
-man are shot and shown as elevated figures looked up to by Joan. Joan is always shot as if looked down as a helpless human beeing.
-Putrefaction, death (skull with worm announces death of Joan)

"You don't have the right to die, your king needs you!"

-Burning scene, freaks, spectacle, girl in swing representing the beggining of life, innocence, and contorsionists, clowns.
Mockery of tragedy.

Conclusion: Not my type of movie, but interesting to watch without all the fancy pancy special effects, costly production an beautiful cast.

To read:
Theory of Film by Bela Balasz
Film as Art by Rudolph Arnheim
Projection by Gerald Mast
The Means of Photoplay by Hugo Munsterberg

Thanks again to the teacher Abe Geil

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