Passion of Joan of Arc, The

(Dreyer, 1928). Music composed by Leo Pouget and Victor Alix.

One of the most famous films of all time, The Passion of Joan of Arc is a powerful rendition of the trial and burning of Joan of Arc. Done almost entirely in close-ups and based closely on the 15th century trial transcripts, the film portrays a number of powerful members of the French clergy as tools of the British armed forces. Cut by Catholic censors when premiered in 1928 in Paris, the censored version of the film was accompanied by pseudo-Gothic, late 19th century style, French dramatic music that further undermined and counteracted Dreyer’s anti-clerical bias. Nevertheless, the music, particularly from the point of Joan’s final communion to her death and the riot that followed, powerfully underscores Joan’s martyrdom and victory over death on behalf of God and the French people.


Performing forces
7 players (Violin I and II, viola, cello, bass, piano, organ or synthesizer) 6 singers (high soprano, soprano, mezzo, tenor, tenor, bass)
Performing forces
45 players (strings: 7,7,6,5,4; flute/pic, oboe, 2 cl., bassoon, 2 trumpet, 2 Fr. horn, trombone, piano, organ, percussion, tympani, harp) and chorus- SSATTB with soloists)
Rehearsals One 2 ½ hour rehearsal with instruments and vocalists
One 1 hour rehearsal with singers and piano or organist
One 90 minute tech rehearsal
One 2 hour dress rehearsal
Performance time 90 minutes. No intermission
Film speed 24 frames per second
Film source Museum of Modern Art
DVD source
Criterion Films
Criterion Films
artwork:Lidia Bagnoli