CAMEOS is a series in the Thousand Movie Project where another writer shares their take on a movie from the List.
Just finished watching watching Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc for my buddy Alex–and I couldn’t hear a thing!! Seriously, though, I guess my prevailing theory re: silent movies before watching this was that they are like sex: Better Than Nothing. Mine while watching: rubbing chapstick through my own short hair and on eyelids to emulate Joan’s l66ks, throwing signs of the cross ‘cross my reluctanct Catholic chest, just frantic. Sobs.
This movie, as legend purports saved from fire (seriously–look it up) as Joan herself was not, just fucking permeates with an apparent and immanent doom. Maybe its the antihistamines. I can say now: silent movies and antihistamines and scotch go together like rust belt Pennsylvania towns and antihistamines and scotch like how you could see the cooling towers from the power plant two towns north down everywhere where I grew up. About how my Pop Pop when his kidneys went his mind got messed up too and he started hoarding potassium pills, that old prophylactic against radiation. We’d’ve been dead before the alarm even sounded. The shrill of broken bottles at an abandoned distillery in the shade of those towers through just foam flip flops explored ill-prepared with old friends. Any true believer, dying. There’s a glory in it, I guess I mean.
(My inclination was to explore this film through current events both personal and catastrophic and the election armageddon–the collapse I didn’t want of a four year relationship three days before the fucking fascist won. It’s there for someone else–the nineteen year old ingenue imbued with a power undue and unwanted, asked by a panel of the white male anointed if they gave her women’s clothes, would she wear them. But it is not mine.)
I had two years French in college, though, let me note–when Joan declares, “rien que la vérité”, nothing but the truth–that the truth is a feminine noun. Renée Jeanne Falconetti, our Joan, died at 54 due allegedly to a “self-imposed restrictive diet”, having “suffered from mental illness all her life”. (both quotes from her wikipedia, and both CITATION NEEDED).
“Did he have wings” is asked.
“Did he have a crown” is asked. Then how did you know. You gotta watch this movie.
Music that does not sync with Joan of Arc (1928):
The Replacements, Pleased to Meet Me (1987)
Arcade Fire, Neon Bible (2007) (shut up even I was young once)
Royal Headache, High (2015) (but almost)
Any of the Mystic Inane EPs (2013-2016)
Honestly: fucking Ozzy, man, probably
I will renounce nothing.
Emma Woll-Wenzel is a small business owner who lives in Maryland. Here, in a house of her own, she reads and makes pottery. Her business is called Stiff Wrists Clay. She takes commissions, and works fast.