125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

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MichaelB
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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#151 Post by MichaelB » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:39 pm

Silent London:
However, while Tybjerg’s commentary and Einhorn’s Voices of Light mean you shouldn’t throw away your Criterion disc just yet, it’s undeniable that the new restoration and the choice of versions take the Masters of Cinema release to the next level. This is an essential purchase in every conceivable way.

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Finch
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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#152 Post by Finch » Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:40 pm

Like Michael_B, I'm not going back to the 24fps version unless it's to sample the second score. Can't comment on the Japanese composer's score for the 20fps version either since I watched the film silent, and it was more impacting without any score (certainly compared to the orchestral score on the Criterion disc which I did like), achieving an even greater "you are right there" feeling. The pacing at 20fps is more stately (or as I like to think of it, more measured), which I found particularly noticeable in the first 15 minutes, less so in the rest of the film (unless I completely misremember, the opening has more tracking shots within than the following individual chapters). The booklet contributions were fantastic, especially the neat still frame comparison between the world premiere cut and the DoLoca version. One of the top three releases of the year from any company, easily.

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MichaelB
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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#153 Post by MichaelB » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:12 am

Kill the Giggler.

I can't help but wonder whether he was sent the booklet - he complains about the lack of supplemental features and says that:
this is one film where a commentary from a film historian or a retrospective on the many films THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC influenced would have been really interesting.
...but there's tons of material along precisely those lines supplied in printed form.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#154 Post by Brianruns10 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:57 pm

No release can be perfect. I've preordered this one, and the eventual Criterion as well (which will hopefully retain the masterful Richard Einhorn musical accompaniment).

But where MoC really wins is for including the Lo Duca version, something I've long craved. Yes, it's a bastardization, but given it's entirely composed of alternate takes from the 2nd negative, it offers a critical insight into Dreyer's choices as a director. I'm eagerly looking forward to watching both, and seeing just what is the difference between the preferred takes in the first version, compared to the "2nd bests" that comprise the 2nd.

Hats off to MoC on this one. It's certainly my release of the year.

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MichaelB
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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#155 Post by MichaelB » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:36 pm

Brianruns10 wrote:No release can be perfect. I've preordered this one, and the eventual Criterion as well (which will hopefully retain the masterful Richard Einhorn musical accompaniment).
If they do, they'll have to present it at 24fps. Which doesn't of course preclude a 20fps version too, but have Criterion ever done this?

Calvin
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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#156 Post by Calvin » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:46 pm

The Falconetti quote in the 'Greatness and Tragedy' essay is quite curious, considering there's evidence that La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc is not her first film role like it implies it is. Certainly her first starring role, I suppose.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#157 Post by Brianruns10 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:47 pm

Calvin wrote:The Falconetti quote in the 'Greatness and Tragedy' essay is quite curious, considering there's evidence that La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc is not her first film role like it implies it is. Certainly her first starring role, I suppose.
She definitely has at least two credited roles previously, in Le Clown, and La Comtesse de Somerive. It was 11 years before she appeared in another film, "Joan of Arc," and so she may have considered the two previous outings to be footnotes or roles not worth noting (much as Kubrick attempted to disavow Fear and Desire). And there is some truth to it. "Joan of Arc" is her first starring role.

I have longed to find out if the other two films survive. This remains unclear. There are accession numbers for both at the Cinematheque Francaise, #7239 for "Clown" and #7666 for "Sommerive." I and others have attempted inquiries, but either they never responded or an impasse was reached due to the language barrier.

If there is anyone in good with the Cinemateque who could check out those numbers, I'd sure be interested if indeed there are any extant film elements, or if those numbers are merely referring to ANY materials relating to the film. I tend to think the odds are slim; I mean, Falconetti's stature is such, that surely any other films featuring her, if they did exist, would've been preserved by now. I hope I'm wrong in this assumption.

As far as framerates go, you are correct, CC would need to do a 24FPS version. I would hope they would follow MoC's lead and offer both. With all due respect to Dreyer's wishes that his film be shown silent, I do think the Einhorn score actually enhances the film. I think it's the greatest soundtrack to a motion picture I've ever heard. And while I've not yet seen the 20fps version, I was never particularly bothered by Joan of Arc in 24FPS (compared to, say, Metropolis which at 24FPS is definitely too fast).

Once I get my copy, I'll be eager to see both. Perhaps the 20FPS version will be a revelation. I don't know. But I'm grateful to have both options.

BTW, has anyone yet received their copies? I understand they've been shipping out this week? I'm located in the States, but I preordered mine through Eureka, so hopefully I won't have to wait too terribly long. I just got my new region free player just for this film, and I can't wait to put it through it's paces!

BR

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warren oates
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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#158 Post by warren oates » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:48 pm

MichaelB wrote:
Brianruns10 wrote:No release can be perfect. I've preordered this one, and the eventual Criterion as well (which will hopefully retain the masterful Richard Einhorn musical accompaniment).
If they do, they'll have to present it at 24fps. Which doesn't of course preclude a 20fps version too, but have Criterion ever done this?
I don't think Criterion's ever done something like this, but it wouldn't be unprecedented for them to follow MOC's lead on multiple frame rates, just as they have with the choice to start presenting multiple aspect ratios, as in the forthcoming edition of On The Waterfront.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#159 Post by Zot! » Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:16 pm

Out of curiosity, are both the French (criterion) and the Danish (moc) intertitles recreations? There were presumably Norwegian titles on the original print?

Criterion would have to try pretty hard to equal this edition. Lo Duca is a pretty substantial on-disc extra if you ask me.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#160 Post by MichaelB » Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:35 pm

Zot! wrote:Out of curiosity, are both the French (criterion) and the Danish (moc) intertitles recreations? There were presumably Norwegian titles on the original print?
The print that was found in Oslo is believed to be one of the two Danish-language prints that were struck in early 1928 for an extremely limited Danish commercial release: it wasn't released in Norway (or at least that print wasn't). It somehow ended up being shipped to the director of a Norwegian mental asylum when he booked it in a private capacity - the paperwork no longer survives, so no-one knows exactly how, but labels on the box indicate that it was shipped in 1928.

So the MoC intertitles are completely authentic - in fact, they're the only intertitles known for certain to have been signed off by Dreyer himself. By contrast, the Criterion intertitles were created in the 1980s when the Oslo print became the basis of a French-language restoration - it's very obvious when looking at the Beaver grabs that they use a modern font, especially when set against the Danish titles.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#161 Post by Brianruns10 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:43 pm

Zot! wrote:Out of curiosity, are both the French (criterion) and the Danish (moc) intertitles recreations? There were presumably Norwegian titles on the original print?

Criterion would have to try pretty hard to equal this edition. Lo Duca is a pretty substantial on-disc extra if you ask me.
I would hope Criterion would include the Lo Duca cut as well. Given Criterion's love of including multiple versions (see The Leopard, or Mr. Arkadin) I would think they'd eat this one up.

Now, as to your question about intertitles, I think you can debate that to the same extent as the framerate. The danish intertitles are original, inasmuch as those are the intertitles contained within the Oslo print, the sole surviving copy of the Dreyer's approved original vision. However, they are NOT original in the sense that the French production would've had French intertitles, which the Criterion edition recreates in attempt to bring the film as near to the way it existed at the time of its premiere. So there is an argument for the French intertitles being the correct, original ones.

HOWEVER, as Dreyer was a Dane, his original script and intertitles were in Danish. So the Oslo print, having Danish intertitles, has the benefit of being more true to the original, whereas the French intertitles are a translation from Danish, which is never entirely perfect. And so since the Oslo print, while not reflecting the French premiere version, reflects Dreyer's own words in his native tongue, you could just as well argue that Danish intertitles are the definitive.

I admit an affinity for the French myself, and it'll take some getting used to seeing "Joan of Arc," in a different language (Jeane D'Arc's Lidelse Og Dod" doesn't quite roll off the tongue as well, but I'll be eager to see it all the same, and what new things may be revealed by using the Danish intertitles as the basis for the English subtitles.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#162 Post by MichaelB » Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:52 pm

It should probably be mentioned that the world premiere was in Copenhagen, in Danish - the French premiere followed several months later. So the "original" language, in the sense of the first one being exhibited to the public, was Danish.

Which of course doesn't necessarily mean that it's definitive - the world premiere language of György Ligeti's opera Le Grand Macabre was Swedish, but Ligeti himself was never happy with that version and personally preferred it in English or German. But given Dreyer's legal battles with the French rightsholder, there's every possibility that he himself would have preferred the Danish text, if only because it's the one over which he had most control - since the version screened at the Paris premiere was censored.

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MichaelB
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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#163 Post by MichaelB » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:48 am

Louder Than War.

And also our very own Peerpee, who tweeted yesterday on watching the end result for the first time:
MoC THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC Blu-ray is a magic death-defying fever dream. I can't imagine a luckier Blu-ray on earth. 20fps pure joy.
He of course got various balls rolling in the first place, but had left MoC before the final package was put together.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#164 Post by Brianruns10 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:33 pm

MichaelB wrote:Louder Than War.
It pains me to do this, because it is such a glowing review of a film that deserves all the praise it has received, but I must report that the writer of the linked article above is an intellectual thief and a plagiarist. He has undoubtedly lifted a great deal from Roger Ebert's Great Movies essay on "Joan of Arc." He has changed some adjectives around to cover his tracks, but he has clearly used Ebert's work as the basis for his own.

Compare:

Example 1:

Ian wrote: "Falconetti was an actress in Paris who Dreyer saw on the stage of a small boulevard theater. The play was a little comedy, but Dreyer was transfixed: 'There was a soul behind that facade.'"

Ebert wrote: “She was an actress in Paris when she was seen on the stage of a little boulevard theater by Carl Theodor Dreyer,,,It was a light comedy, he recalled, but there was something in her face that struck him: ‘There was a soul behind that facade.'’”

Example 2:

Ian wrote: “Dreyer forced Falconetti to kneel excruciatingly on the stone floor set and then erase all expression from her face. The director wanted those watching the film to interpret concealed inner pain…Dreyer filmed the same sequences repeatedly, hopeful that during editing he could discover precisely the correct hint in her facial expressions and wide eyes all her agony and suffering.”

Ebert wrote: “Legends from the set tell of Dreyer forcing her to kneel painfully on stone and then wipe all expression from her face--so that the viewer would read suppressed or inner pain. He filmed the same shots again and again, hoping that in the editing room he could find exactly the right nuance in her facial expression.

Example 3:

Ian wrote: Her unpleasant ecclesiastic inquisitors appear without make-up and their hideous faces seem to reflect their twisted inner souls, while Falconetti, filmed in softer grey, appears somber and inspired with internal assurance.

Ebert wrote: All of the faces of the inquisitors are shot in bright light, without makeup, so that the crevices and flaws of the skin seem to reflect a diseased inner life…Falconetti, by contrast, is shot in softer grays...she seems solemn and consumed by inner conviction.

Ian Johnston ends his review with this proud claim: "All words by Ian Johnston."

Hardly.

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htshell
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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#165 Post by htshell » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:44 pm

He sure put his thesaurus to work!

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#166 Post by Brianruns10 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:51 pm

htshell wrote:He sure put his thesaurus to work!
That's what's so execrable about this reviewer. I would actually be more forgiving if he lifted text wholesale...it would just mean he was stupid, lazy, or didn't know enough about ethical citation practices. Internet bloggers can hardly be expected to exercise the same degree of care and precision as the studied academic.

Yet this guy went to lengths to cover his tracks. He KNEW what he was doing. His actions are that of someone who has clearly had practice at this, and given more time, I intend to examine some of his other reviews.

This fellow should not be allowed to write publicly disseminated materials, at least, not until he learns a bit about the standards and practices of his craft.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#167 Post by swo17 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:54 pm

All words by Ian Johnston
Even worse than mere plagiarism, he seems to be implying that he invented all the words used in his review, or further still, all words. I find this somewhat unlikely.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#168 Post by Ishmael » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:21 pm

Aw, cut the guy a break. It's clear that the last words of his final sentence were accidentally deleted. That sentence should read: "All words by Ian Johnston were paraphrased from the works of better writers."

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#169 Post by MichaelB » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:17 am

More reviews:

Film Intel: "another wonderful example of the expertise and power available to those who work on the preservation of our movie heritage.";
Cinemart: "[a] textbook lesson in how to do a restoration for Blu-ray.";
Hope Lies: "it looks fantastic."

...plus the restoration demo from the disc (albeit reduced to 720p here).

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#170 Post by manicsounds » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:43 pm


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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#171 Post by Brianruns10 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:40 am

Alas, being in the States, my wait continues as my copy makes it's sojourn across the Atlantic, I like to imagine by a four masted schooner captained by an Ahab type, fighting through storms and waves to reach Boston harbor, where it shall be transported by by man and beast of burden over the Appalachians, fording rivers and gorges before arriving at my doorstep.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#172 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:24 am

Brianruns10 wrote:Alas, being in the States, my wait continues as my copy makes it's sojourn across the Atlantic, I like to imagine by a four masted schooner captained by an Ahab type, fighting through storms and waves to reach Boston harbor, where it shall be transported by by man and beast of burden over the Appalachians, fording rivers and gorges before arriving at my doorstep.
Judging by the condition of the goods and length of time it takes for packages from the US to reach us here in UK that seems to be standard practice for USPS.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#173 Post by MichaelB » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:10 am

DVD Verdict:
The 1.37:1/1080p transfer is nothing short of stunning. As is seen in the "Restoration Demonstration" featurette included on the Blu-ray, the print was in less than stellar shape when work began on the remastering. Yet now, thanks to what one assumes was a lengthy process, the film is shorn of much of the damage that plagued it. The image is remarkably sharp, and the amount of detail astounding. There are still occasional moments of softness or examples of damage to the print, but taking into account the film's age, I think we can agree such instances are forgivable.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#174 Post by manicsounds » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:43 am

The 2 DVDs are region 2 NTSC by the way.

How did MoC decide on the scores? There are a lot of scores out there for this particular film.
Optionally, the Dolby 0.0 track is available like it was on the Criterion DVD.

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Re: 125 / BD 50 The Passion of Joan of Arc

#175 Post by MichaelB » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:55 am

manicsounds wrote:The 2 DVDs are region 2 NTSC by the way.
Presumably to ensure that the frame rates stay constant - going down the PAL route would have involved a slight speedup, which would rather defeat the purpose of trying to get it right!
How did MoC decide on the scores? There are a lot of scores out there for this particular film.
You'll have to ask MoC themselves about the Loren Connors score, but I understand the Mie Yanashita one was chosen for the simple reason that it was the only recording that they were aware of that was designed to fit a 20fps playback speed: it was originally recorded for a Japanese DVD release. So without going to the expense of commissioning and recording a whole new score, MoC didn't have much choice - though thankfully it turned out to be excellent.

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