La passion de Jeanne d’Arc
One of the silent classics that can be watched online for free now. Like the few others I watched before, La passion de Jeanne d’Arc strikes me as being so much more ‘modern’ (such a problematic word) than what we have nowadays. Having no prior knowledge whatsoever about this production, I was very much surprised to find that the entire film revolves around the trial of Joan of Arc, and for the most part only the face of Joan is portrayed in a very close shot. The beautiful face of Maria Falconetti in all her passions is just like a classical sculpture of a Greek goddess, a Botticelli angel. Every frame, every shot is like a piece of fine art photography. One does not hope to learn much about the story of Joan of Arc through the plot because the audience is expected to be acquainted with the facts already, still from the minimal information one can still gain a rough idea of the happenings. The focus is on the passions of the martyr.
Briefly I was acquainted with the Hundred Years’ War through my Shakespearean studies. It is very interesting indeed to study this history from both the English and French points of view. On the other hand I am beginning to feel uneasy about my passions for European history over that of my own country. Perhaps it is because of the current state of my ‘motherland’ which makes me reluctant to have anything to do with her. But of her glorious past I do wish to learn. Such is my passion for knowledge, over that of many things, and may god forgive me for it.