Voices of Light or not-Passion of Joan of Arc

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ike, Feb 19, 2002.

  1. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    I got my Criterion copy of Passion of Joan of Arc in, and am really torn-for my first viewing, should I watch it silent, or with the new orchestral score, "Voices of Light?"

    My main reason for asking is that I want to see it as Dreyer intended. I know how much of a perfectionist he was, and don't want to violate that intent. Obviously, he didn't know about Voices of Light, specifically, but was it written with an outer score in mind? If it was written with a rinky-tink piano score in mind, I've got no problem watching it with Voices of Light. But if he intended it to play silent, silent it is for me.

    Anybody know what Dreyer intended?
     
  2. MatthewCampbell

    MatthewCampbell Auditioning

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    I don't really know what Dreyer's intend was vis a vis a score for JOA. However, I did find Voices of Light to be very distracting while watching the film. It was annoying to hear the words of the chorus, and follow the action, and read the intertitiles. For me it was sensory overload.

    What I ended up doing was putting on a cd of piano music I liked (Eric Satie) and I watched the film along with that. It was much eaisier to pay attention to the film and the great performances than with VoL.

    Matt
     
  3. Scott Dill

    Scott Dill Stunt Coordinator

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    Ike,

    I believe that there was no sound track 'intended' for this film, but VOL is an excellent accompaniment IMHO. Personally, I prefer my silent films with musical accompaniment of some sort and tend to prefer contemporary designs (like the Organ piece on Image's Nosferatu and not the modern). I do not find VOL distracting, it is a terrific piece in its own right. YMMV as always.

    It is a great film either way.
     
  4. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

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    According to Casper Tyberg, who did the commentary, Dreyer defenitively prefered the movie being displayed without anuy music. In his informative commentary, Tyberg says:
    "He [Dreyer] told......that he was in favor of showing films without any musical accompaniment".
    Now go and watch this masterpiece [​IMG] !
     
  5. Darren H

    Darren H Second Unit

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    It sure is nice to see a Dreyer discussion back in these here parts. I was beginning to think that my once-beloved Movies section had been reduced to nothing but **official** discussions of the latest Hollywood horseshit.

    Anyway . . .

    I envy you, Ike. I'd love the opportunity to watch Passion again for the first time. Mark and Scott are correct. Dreyer prefered that it be shown in silence. Having said that, though, I always watch it with Voices of Light, which makes an already powerful film even more devestating. The fact of the matter is that one close-up of Falconetti's face is more profound than many great films I've seen -- whether music accompanies it won't make that great a difference.

    So, for the purist in you, watch it first without sound. It's short and you'll likely want to watch it again as soon as it ends, so add the score on the second trip through. Have fun. And be sure to report back afterwards.
     
  6. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    Wow, I didn't actually expect a reply. I figured it would be shook off. But you actually gave me an answer! Thanks.
     
  7. Darren H

    Darren H Second Unit

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  8. Gary Tooze

    Gary Tooze Producer

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  9. Luc D

    Luc D Second Unit

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    Ideally, you should watch it silent. I find the score rather intrusive at times.
     
  10. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    Well,

    I decided to watch it silent, and that seemed to be the best way to do it for my first viewing. I went back and watched about 10 minutes of it with Voices of Light on, and it does seem dramatic, but I'm glad I watched it score-less the first time.

    The film? Well, it's certainly a first for me-my first Dreyer film, and my first silent film. I know, it's a bit shameful, but I've never seen a full length silent film from beginning to end. I've seen bits and pieces, and if one is on TCM, I'll watch it. (I await Intolerance’s arrival on DVD).

    But what I had seen, I'd formed opinions. Silent films have hammy over-acting. Silent films aren't subtle. Silent films, having been shot early on in the birth of a technology, are not as technically impressive as latter day films. And early films were thought of as pure entertainment, so artistic statements were almost snuck in.

    I have to say, Passion of Joan of Arc may have turned every single conception I had on it's ear. It's heart wrenching, somber, and even subtle. It's also extremely modern, with experimental camera work, and a virtuoso editing style.

    The performances are brilliant, especially Falconetti as Joan. It's such a haunting performance, and the film allows her to be complex. The film almost feels modern in the equality it bestows upon Joan, and even that which Dreyer allows Falconetti to carry the whole film. Without the amazing performance of Joan at the core, I don't think the film would have worked at all.

    The ending is very haunting. There are shots in there that still ring with me. Seeing Joan's silhouette through a wall of smoke. A baby nursing, looking at Joan, and then going back to nursing. The soldier's clubbing villagers. The whole film is stacked with haunting images.

    All in all, this feels like I've discovered something I'd been totally oblivious to previously. I can't wait to discover more Dreyer, and even more silent films. I've got this board to thank for exposing me to it all.

    And I must say the Criterion DVD is like a book on the film all crammed onto a DVD. I'll gladly pay $40 for quality like this.

    (As silly as this is, is the Dreyer box set by Criterion the next best step to take?)
     
  11. Darren H

    Darren H Second Unit

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  12. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    Just put it in an order for the box set at DDD. (Is it going out of print? Criterion's official site lists it as Out of print, but everyone has it in stock.)
    I looked at the board, but am afraid I'd be in over my head. With my somewhere around 30 Criterion's, I'm sure I'd have one of the lightest Criterion collections there.
     
  13. Darren H

    Darren H Second Unit

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    I have less than 20. I lurk more than I post there, but it usually makes for good readin'.
     
  14. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

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  15. Pascal A

    Pascal A Second Unit

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    I just wanted to put a nod in on getting the Dreyer boxset as well. Other than some of his early silent films, like Leaves from Satan's Book and The President which he (Dreyer) thought that he could have made some improvements on, Dreyer has never really made a bad film - challenging and unusual, perhaps, but never less than accomplished. He was quite a perfectionist and a relentless innovator, and had a very specific vision of what he wanted to create. Sometimes, the results can be confounding (like the distended speech of Gertrud), but nevertheless, sublime. Incidentally, Ordet has been one of my favorite films for a long time.
     
  16. Russ Lucas

    Russ Lucas Stunt Coordinator

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    As someone who recently came under Ordet's spell-- I saw it for the first time a few weeks ago and was completely blown away-- I'd also recommend the box set.

    Pascal, are those other two films you mentioned available on DVD?
     
  17. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    The Passion of Joan of Arc is a title I would consider one of the crown jewels of my collection. The film is simply amazing. I will have to revisit that one again soon.
    RE: Dreyer's boxset: It appears I have another one to get a hold off. [​IMG]
    ~Edwin
     
  18. Pascal A

    Pascal A Second Unit

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  19. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    But another Dreyer film is available, Vampyr. Criterion is supposed to be redoing it at some point, since the quality on this Image disc is fairly poor, but the film is definitely worth seeing. Dreyer's take on creating a horror film is exceptional. And the disc also contains a great short film, The Mascot, worth the purchase price alone for me.
    I've owned the Dreyer Box for months but haven't found the time to watch it yet. I hope to very soon.
    Passion is one of my favorite discs as well and in my top 10 films.
     

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