The Passion of Joan of Arc [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1928]

Carl Theodor Dreyer's classic silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc gets the DVD treatment it deserves on this superb release from Criterion. The DVD offers a standard full-frame transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1. English and French subtitles are accessible. Musical composer Richard Einhorn wrote an entire opera that was inspired by this film. The opera is available on the disc, along with an audio essay by Dreyer historian Caper Tybjerg, a retrospective on the various alternate versions of the film that have existed, a booklet containing the libretto for Einhorn's piece, and many other supplemental materials. This is an outstanding disc; its excellence is something most DVD consumers have come to expect from Criterion.
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Overview

Special Features

  • New transfer of the original version, with digital restoration
  • Richard Einhorn's "Voices of Light" performed by vocal group Anonymous 4, soloist Susan Narucki, and the Radio Netherlands Philharmonic and Choir
  • Audio essay by Casper Tybjerg, Dreyer scholar
  • Extensive production design archive
  • History of Passion's many versions, with clips
  • Audio interview excerpts with the star's daughter, Hélène Falconetti
  • Essay by Richard Einhorn on Joan of Arc and Voices of Light, plus a video essay on the music's production
  • Voices of Light libretto booklet, including the medival texts used in Einhorn's composition

Synopsis

The Passion of Joan of Arc
The Passion of Joan of Arc (La passion de Jeanne d'Arc) is widely regarded as Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer's finest achievement and one of the greatest films of all time. Dreyer recreates the trial and execution of St. Joan with near-documentary authenticity, as if one were present at the actual 15th century event and both defendant and accusers were the genuine article. The director's use of huge, probing close-ups -- detailing every pockmark and even the saliva at the sides of the mouths -- adds a shocking immediacy which makes it hard to believe that this film is nearly 70 years old. As Joan, Renée Maria Falconetti (in her only film) transcends mere praise. The Passion of Joan of Arc is a silent film, but the original transcripts of Joan's trial are brilliantly conveyed by the pantomime of the actors. The film's title is supremely double-edged -- Joan's "passion" is shown to be as erotic as it is spiritual. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

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    Maria Falconetti - Joan of Arc
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    Antonin Artaud - Jean Massieu
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    Maurice Schutz - Nicholas Loyseleur
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    Ravet - Jean Beaupère
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    André Berley - Jean d'Estivet
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