On today’s episode, I talked with Eric McDonough, otherwise known as Conservative Film Buff on Twitter, and Letterboxd. Eric picked 1928’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. Directed by Danish Francophile Carl Theodore Dreyer for the Société Générale des Films in France, Dreyer quite literally took his dialogue and scenery from the annals of history as he used the actual court minutes that were recorded by the members of the clergy that put Joan of Arc to the stake in May of 1431. Fast forwarding to 1927, Dreyer has immense pressure on him to create a masterpiece as French nationalism was at a peak, and Joan was officially named as a saint by the Catholic Church only years earlier, and he did just that. The Passion of Joan of Arc is known for its slower, but intense pacing, its revolutionary cinematography, the miraculous story of its survival as its lost negative was discovered in a mental institution in Norway, and of course its reputation for containing the greatest acting performance ever recorded.
The Passion of Joan of Arc follows the last days of Jeanne d’Arc, a French peasant girl that stated Angels sent by God told her to unite and free France from English rule during the conflict we now know as the Hundred Years War. She accomplishes this through miraculously breaking the Siege of Orleans, securing the coronation city of Reims resulting in the coronation of King Charles VII all by leading from the front, as a teenager. She is eventually captured and ransomed to the English to be tried for heresy and this is where The Passion of Joan of Arc begins.
So sit back relax and don’t sign any abjurations.