Spiritual rapture and institutional hypocrisy come to life vividly in one of the most transcendent masterpieces of the silent era: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (1928). Cellist Lori Goldston (famously of Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged) and violinist Austin Larkin perform an original live score drawing from medieval secular and liturgical music and free improvisation.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, directed by Carl Dreyer) with a live original score composed and performed by composer/cellist Lori Goldston and violinist Austin Larkin.
Chronicling the trial of Joan of Arc in the hours leading up to her execution, Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer depicts her torment with startling immediacy, employing an array of techniques—expressionistic lighting, interconnected sets, painfully intimate close-ups—to immerse viewers in her subjective experience. Anchoring Dreyer’s audacious formal experimentation is a legendary performance by Renée Falconetti, whose haunted face channels both the agony and the ecstasy of martyrdom. Thought to have been lost to fire, the film’s original version was miraculously found in perfect condition in 1981 in a Norwegian mental institution, heightening the mythic status of this widely revered masterwork.
About Lori Goldston: Classically trained and rigorously de-trained, possessor of a restless, semi-feral spirit, Lori Goldston is a cellist, composer, improvisor, producer, writer and teacher from Seattle. Her voice as a cellist, amplified or acoustic, is full, textured, committed and original. A relentless inquirer, her work drifts freely across borders that separate genre, discipline, time and geography. When performing her dream-like cello score to accompany The Passion of Joan of Arc, Lori Goldston has been praised for keeping it a truly live experience — even for her. Drawing from medieval secular and liturgical music and free improvisation.
Lori Goldston’s collaborators include Earth, Nirvana, Mirah, David Byrne, Terry Riley, Cat Power, and many more.
“ONE OF THE HIGHEST MASTERPIECES OF THE CINEMA. Words indeed run aground when trying to assess the enormity and sophistication of this 1928 film. This is neither a hopeful nor a hopeless film, but one of feeling so colossal and resplendent, it can’t be constrained by prison or consumed by fire. If we can dare to extract one message from it, perhaps it should be: Believe women.”– Jaime N. Christley, The Village Voice
“You cannot know the history of silent film unless you know the face of Renee Maria Falconetti. In a medium without words, where the filmmakers believed that the camera captured the essence of characters through their faces, to see Falconetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc is to look into eyes that will never leave you.”– Roger Ebert
“One of the greatest of all movies… No other film has so subtly linked eroticism with religious persecution.”
– Pauline Kael
“Seems like an historical document from an era in which the cinema didn’t exist.”
– Jean Cocteau