Sunday, June 24, 2012

Joan of Arc

Yesterday while digging, I spent quite a few hours meditating on a short film I saw last summer. It was at our old theatre, and the film was part of a reel of the old silent black and white film Joan of Arc. This movie is fascinating not only for the cinematography, but also for the story behind the film itself. Apparently the actress who played Joan was a French prostitute, pulled off the street for her tragic, beautiful, emotional face. This was the only film she ever acted in. Also, all reels of the film were thought to be destroyed or lost by the end of WWII by the Germans because of it's controversial subject matter, but a couple of years ago two reels were found in a closet in a mental institute in Austria, and were gently restored. So the reels came to Edmonton, and I was in audience for viewing the part of the film left- the trial and execution of Joan.
My friend and talented musician joined a group of other young talented musicians, and together they came up with a soundtrack that they played LIVE during the screening, in the old style, at the front of the theatre sitting in the corners of the stage.
It was so incredibly beautiful and touching and moving and even frightening. Joan's face was haunting, passive in her misery and commitment to her life's call, and the Church and political officials who were judging her were terrifying.
It's only looking back now, a year later, that I can realize how influential that 45 minutes has been on my life. It has left an indelible print of sadness and greatness and beauty all tied together. I can't stop thinking about it. And it's even more maddening because I know there is no way I can ever see it, with that original score, ever again. No one will. It makes me want to cry.

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