My expirience in the silent film period consists pretty much of just Charlie Chaplin’s work. So light and comedic is what I think of when I imagine silent films. So The Passion of Joan of Arc is obviously a big change in my perception of that period in film history.
Joan of Arc, is of course the young French heroine/Saint who led the French army. However, the film doesn’t get into any action scenes or turn into a war drama. In fact, The Passion is sort of a courtroom drama, showing the events of here heresy trail in 1431. Over the course of events, Joan is tried, faints before being tortured, convinced into signing a confession, and later burned at the stake.
The term is used way too often, but The Passion was truly ahead of its time. Some of the camera moves and angles were amazing, not for a film shot over 80 years ago, but for any movie. Not too mention the role of Joan was played excellently by Maria Falconetti, which is saying something since most of the movie is closeups of her reactions and emotions. In fact, most of the movie is filled with closeups of actor’s makeup-less faces.
I don’t think this movie is for everyone, but if you have an appreciation for film and how it got to where it is today, take a look at The Passion of Joan of Arc.