A true work of silent film cinema. As dark and bold as it can be. The film images lingers.
not being a huge fan of silent films, this one is probably one of the best films i’ve ever seen! i was worried i’d be bored but had heard so much about it i couldn’t pull away without giving it a shot. damn lucky i did, otherwise i still might not have seen one of the most magnificent films i’ve ever seen. definately a cadidate for the greatest use of “Less is more”.
This film single handedly influenced me to start writing about film in general, and this morning I started a cinema blog.
thank you mr. dreyer.
Man, I still haven’t seen this one yet. It’s on my list but I wish I didn’t have a big stack of Criterion movies over here to go through already, otherwise I would pick this up right now.
Having just seen this film for the first time, I was struck by the lack of overly ornate sets and costumes. Renee Falconetti’s performance was one of the finest I have seen, very possibly the best. The amount of subtlety and nuance that was brought to the performance without the advantage of sound was incredible. In her, I can see why Dreyer thought he had found the reincarnation of Jeanne d’Arc, she exudes the image in my head of what I had always imagined she looked like. Not as a warrior clad in armor, but as a fearful christian, not quite knowing what she should do, and then having the intervening hand of God to guide her to the correct decision. Whether you believe in the religious stories of the virgin of Orleans or not, whether christian or atheist, this is a beautifully real telling of this story, the best I have seen. I already consider it the best silent film I have ever seen, and possibly the best all-time, and I am not a religious person. Thank you Criterion for a beautiful transfer as well.
Saw this at last, partly in preparation for Breaking the Waves. The only other Dreyer I’ve seen was Vampyr, which was cool and cerebral, but had nowhere near the tacit, emotive power of this insane film. An hour and a half of quiet psychological games, all shot in closeup, either at an upward or downward angle…
I’m curious: why is Passion so much more visually sophisticated than Vampyr, or indeed, than almost any of the silent films at that time? It scans like a modern experimental film, whereas other silent films… with some exceptions (Man With A Movie Camera)… seem like members of a quirky, rather primitive filmic subgenre. I mean, there are quite a few silent films I like… Cabinet of Dr Caligari, The Last Laugh… but all of these have a fledgling sense of timing and framing, whereas Passion looks very advanced, even now.