A Look Back: The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

This week I’ll be doing something a little different. This will be the first post in a three-post series where I share my school reports from my first real film class, Film History. These were the first serious writings I did on film, and they offer a look back at the foundations that would eventually lead me to start writing reviews here at Silver Emulsion. I recently found them in a box while preparing to move, and I hope they are as entertaining to you as they are to me (they won’t be). These were written about twelve years ago during the Fall of the year 2000, when I was a spry nineteen years old. I will be re-creating the documents with the same formatting and images to the best of my abilities with the WordPress editor. Also, I’m leaving in any grammar errors or other things that I might want to change. It’s all about posterity and not falling into the George Lucas trap. Anyway, enjoy! Maybe.


“The Passion of Joan of Arc” (1928)
A Film by Carl Th. Dreyer

Carl Dreyer once said regarding the close up shot, “The human face is a declaration on the context of the soul and in its delicate shifts, one can read the most delicate nuances of the emotion which words and gestures are incapable of expressing. The significance of cinema as a new art form resides in the ability to reproduce these shifts of facial expressions.” This statement best explains his reasons for filming The Passion of Joan of Arc in the way that he did. The Passion of Joan of Arc is one of the standout films from the silent era, elevating the closeup to new heights. It is one of my favorite films and I feel that it is the most powerful film ever made, even surpassing Battleship Potemkin. I attribute this to the deeply religious nature of the story and the revolutionary visual style contained in the film.

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