The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927)

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer Cinematographer: Rudolph Maté
 The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) on IMDb

Dreyer’s last silent film, The Passion of Joan of Arc was shot in France with massive technical and financial resources and in conditions of great creative freedom. Having spent over a year researching Joan of Arc (played here by stage actress Renée Jeanne Falconetti, in her only major film role), Dreyer forgoes medieval pageantry or Joan’s military exploits, instead using the records of the Rouen trial to focus on the spiritual and political conflicts of her last day as a captive of England. Instantly acclaimed by critics as a masterpiece (although it was a commercial failure), the film is probably most notable for the symbolic progression of close-up faces that reaches an apotheosis in the long sustained sequence of Joan’s interrogation against a menacing architectural backdrop. Despite French nationalists’ scepticism about whether a Danish person could be in charge of a film that centred on one of France’s most revered historical icons, it’s Dreyer’s brilliant direction, particularly the unconventional emphasis on the actors’ facial features, that along with Falconetti’s unforgettable performance, gives the film its immense emotional power.

Buy or Rent (watch online)
The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray]
The Criterion Collection (DVD)
Maria Falconetti As Joan Of Arc 1928 Photo Print (16 x 20)
Paper Poster, 18″ x 27″
Movie Poster 1928 Vintage
The New Filmgoer’s Guide to God: From The Passion of Joan of Arc to Philomena (kindle)
The Passion of Joan of Arc Screenplay by Carl Theodor Dreyer Translated by Oliver Stallybrass [Student Loose Leaf Edition]



      • Renée Jeanne Falconetti as Jeanne d’Arc

    • “That shaven head was and remains the abstraction of the whole epic of Joan of Arc.” Jean Renoir
  • Dreyer was initially unimpressed with seeing Falconetti perform in an amateur theatre but saw something in her he thought he could bring out. With a reputation as a tyrannical director, the filmmaker reportedly treated her harshly (although the rumours are disputed).  The film was instantly acclaimed by critics as a masterpiece although Falconetti, who always preferred the art of theater to cinema, said she never understood the positive reaction to the film’s acting. However, her iconic performance, often listed as one of the finest in cinema history, and her devotion to the role during filming, are considered legendary among film scholars.
    • Eugène Silvain as Évêque Pierre Cauchon
    • André Berley as Jean d’Estivet, the prosecutor
    • Maurice Schutz as Nicolas Loyseleur, a canon
    • Antonin Artaud as Jean Massieu, the Dean of Rouen
    • Gilbert Dalleu as Jean Lemaitre, the Vice-Inquisitor
    • Jean d’Yd as Nicolas de Houppeville
    • Louis Ravet as Jean Beaupère (as Ravet)
    • Michel Simon as a Judge
    • Paul Fromet as a Judge
    • Armand Lurville as a Judge
    • Camille Bardou as Lord Warwick, the English Captain in Rouen
    • Jacques Arnna as a Judge
    • Alexandre Mihalesco as a Judge
    • Raymond Narlay as a Judge
    • Henry Maillard as a Judge
    • Léon Larive as a Judge
    • Henry Gaultier as a Judge
    • Paul Jorge as a Judge

Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
Screenplay by Joseph Delteil, Carl Theodor Dreyer
Cinematography Rudolph Maté
Edited by Marguerite Beaugé, Carl Theodor Dreyer
Running time 110 minutes
Country France
Language Silent film, French intertitles


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