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The Passion of Joan of Arc The Criterion Collection
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Spiritual rapture and institutional hypocrisy come to stark, vivid life in one of the most transcendent masterpieces of the silent era. Chronicling the trial of Joan of Arc in the days leading up to her execution, Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer depicts her torment with startling immediacy, employing an array of techniques including expressionistic lighting, interconnected sets, and painfully intimate close-ups to immerse viewers in her subjective experience. Anchoring Dreyer's audacious formal experimentation is a legendary performance by Renée Falconetti, whose haunted face channels both the agony and the ecstasy of martyrdom.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- New high-definition digital restoration of the film by Gaumont, presented at 24 frames per second
- Alternate presentation of the film at 20 frames per second with original Danish intertitles
- Three scores: Richard Einhorn's VOICES OF LIGHT, a choral and orchestral work performed by vocal group Anonymous 4, soloist Susan Narucki, and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Choir; another by Goldfrapp's Will Gregory and Portishead's Adrian Utley; and the third composed and performed by pianist Mie Yanashita
- Audio commentary from 1999 by film scholar Casper Tybjerg
- New interview with Einhorn
- New conversation between Gregory and Utley
- New video essay by Tybjerg exploring the debate over the film's frame rate
- Interview from 1995 with actor Renée Falconetti's daughter and biographer, Hélène Falconetti
- Version history
- Production design archive
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: An essay by critic Mark Le Fanu, a 1929 director's statement by Carl Theodor Dreyer, and the full libretto for VOICES OF LIGHT
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This important movie belongs in the collection of anyone with a serious interest in learning something about the life and career of Jeanne d'Arc.
Update, May 21, 2004: The DVD is available now; I have viewed about half of this so far and can report that it is a spectacular job of film restoration. The colors are vivid and distinct, the image sharp, and the soundtrack clear and distinct even in its monophonic mix. This 56-year old Technicolor movie looks like it was released last week. All the fantastic detail work in the backgrounds, costumes, and matte paintings is clearly visible and Ingrid glows more beatifically than ever before. (She may not be the definitive screen Joan, but she was certainly one of the most sincere in her approach.) The DVD includes no special features but a box insert briefly describes the history of the film's production and restoration. A superb job for this deserving epic.