During the first World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.
The sufferings of a martyr, Jeanne D'Arc (1412-1431). Jeanne appears in court where Cauchon questions her and d'Estivet spits on her. She predicts her rescue, is taken to her cell, and judges forge evidence against her. In her cell, priests interrogate her and judges deny her the Mass. Threatened first in a torture chamber and then offered communion if she will recant, she refuses. At a cemetery, in front of a crowd, a priest and supporters urge her to recant; she does, and Cauchon announces her sentence. In her cell, she explains her change of mind and receives communion. In the courtyard at Rouen castle, she burns at the stake; the soldiers turn on the protesting crowd. Written by
I saw this a few months ago on the big screen, just after Nosferatu, another silent classic. Both showings were supported by a live organ play, which has been composed directly for the movie, and which suited perfectly. I had seen Nosferatu before, but i didn´t know anything about `Jeanne`, and so i was in no way prepared for this overwhelming, soul-rapturing experience.
My eyes were immediately glued to the screen. Unfortunately i had missed the first minutes, so it started for me with the first (?) court scene. The camera wandered through the faces of the court members, circled and focussed on Jeanne´s face. So beautiful, naked, strong and defenseless! I could rave on the technical perfection of this film, it´s clever editing, innovative and gorgeous cinematography, proper historical settings and pure storytelling. Carl Theodor Dreyer created a masterpiece. But the most outstanding feature of this silent are the performances; Maria Falconetti delivers simply the best performance of all times, and i can´t remember of any ´corny` overacting, which distracts most silent movies from the modern viewer, even the accepted classics. `La passion de Jeanne d´Arc´ is purest cinematic art, timeless in every sense.
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