Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc

At the Paramount Theatre, Oakland!
The Pacific Film Archive, Paramount Theatre, and Silent Film Festival present

Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc
An Oratorio with Silent Film
Music by Richard Einhorn
Film by Carl Theodor Dreyer
Conducted by Mark Sumner

About the film:
The Passion of Joan of Arc
Carl Th. Dreyer (France, 1928)

“More than the centerpiece of the Pacific Film Archive's Dreyer retrospective; it's the spiritual highlight of the holiday season.” – Michael Fox, East Bay Monthly

Falconetti's portrayal of Joan of Arc “may be the finest performance ever recorded on film.” – Pauline Kael

(La passion de Jeanne d'Arc). Carl Dreyer's remarkable depiction of the trial and execution of Joan of Arc (condensed for the sake of narrative from eighteen months to one day), was written largely from the actual records of the trial and based on historical evidence which had come to light in 1924, four years before the film was made. Often cited as an “austere masterpiece,” with reference to the starkness of Dreyer's sets, his refusal to allow his actors to use makeup, and his use of extreme close-up photography, The Passion of Joan of Arc is in fact one of the most poignant, terrifying and unrelentingly emotional historical documents ever filmed. “I am searching for nothing but life,” Dreyer wrote during the shooting. “...It is the objective drama of the spirit that is important, not the objective drama of the images.” Originally intending to make a sound film, Dreyer was forced by finances to abandon the idea. Maria Falconetti gives one of the greatest of all silent screen performances in her first (and last) film role, and Antonin Artaud and Michel Simon are memorably captured by Rudolph Maté's camera. -Judy Bloch

• Written by Dreyer. Photographed by Rudolph Maté. With Maria Falconetti, Eugène Silvain, Antonin Artaud, Michel Simon. (81 mins, Silent with English intertitles, B&W, 35mm, From Academy Film Archive, permission Janus Films/Criterion Collection)

About the score:
"A moving score...sublimely matches one of the great films of all time." – Chicago Sun Times

Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light is a meditation on the life and personality of Joan of Arc. It is scored for soloists, chorus, orchestra, and one very special bell (the digitally sampled sound of the Domremy churchbell). The libretto is a montage of ancient writings, assembled primarily from female medieval mystics, including Joan of Arc herself. The piece explores the patchwork of emotions and thoughts that are stitched together into the notion of a female hero.

About the performers:
Conducted by Mark Sumner, Voices of Light will be performed by the women of UC Berkeley's Perfect Fifth as the voice of Joan of Arc, tenor soloist Daniel Ebbers, baritone Martin Bell, the University of California Alumni Chorus, UC Men's and Women's Chorales, and a twenty-two piece orchestra.

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