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Friday, March 10, 2006

Joan of Arc

"If Joan of Arc had been born in another day
Would she now be stuck in Gitmo Bay?"

That coupling is mine, but it pretty much matches the sentiment of one of the speakers I saw Tuesday at the Albany Public Library talking about Joan of Arc. She was a religious zealot, "called by God" to challenge the dominant authority militantly. She would probably now be diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

With all the current, Oscar-driven movie talk, if you get a chance, go see the silent film "The Passion of Joan of Arc", the 1928 silent film by Carl Dreyer starring Maria Falconetti, if not in conjunction with the Albany Pro Musica performance tonight of "Voices of Light", then some other time. The faces Dreyer chose are AMAZINGLY evocative.

There is a 1995 recording of the "Voices of Light" by composer Richard Einhorn featuring the vocal group Anonymous 4 and the Radio Netherlands Philharmonic on SONY Classical.

Einhorn writes of the film that inspired his music that it "makes virtually every movie critic and scholar's short list of masterpieces. It clearly influenced such filmmakers as Bergman, Fellini, Hitchcock, and...Scorcese." A few months after the premiere of the film, most prints were destroyed in a fire, until a few canisters were found in a mental institution in Oslo in 1981. Note the parallels of the film to Joan's life, such as the fire and the supposed mental instability.

Fascinating. Thanks to the discussion participants, and to the library for the preview.


EM said...

That's one of my all time favorite films. It's amazing!

Greg said...

Well, she probably was a paranoid schizophrenic. That's not to say she wasn't a good leader.

It's always interesting to wonder how famous people from the past would be treated today. The Founding Fathers would probably be in Gitmo, after all.