Last night I went to BAM to check out their series on Dreyer. It was a very special occasion for me that they were screening The Passion of Joan of Arc as it was the first time I saw it and I really couldn’t have asked for more. BAMcinématek is a really lovely place to see films and this particular screening included live piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin. I think the musical accompaniment, which if I understand correctly takes certain infidelities with Dreyer’s intentions, probably made the experience more accessible, though now I’m curious to see it in complete silence, preferably at a public screening as well.
My friends and I often joke about the common choice of words quoted in movie promos. You know, the “riveting,” “sexy!,” “absolutely breathtaking” verbiage. Well, I can say with total sincereity that Jeanne Falconetti‘s performance is startlingly original. There is a terrific emphasis on the expressive power of faces, in fact the entire film is really a sort of study of faces. It was also great fun to see a young-ish Antonin Artaud, who plays one of the various monks in the film.