Silents: The Passion of Joan of Arc

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Liz: Thanks to Jaz for suggesting this movie, as well as the alternate sound track (which was very enjoyable) (Jaz: soundtrack was by Voices of Light). The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) tells of Joan’s trial and death at the stake and is one of those movies I’m glad I watched but wouldn’t want to watch again. I learned from it, was depressed by it, and, after watching it, felt the need to watch something cheerful and unrealistic (as in a movie where everyone lives happily ever after and where no one would ever burn a person alive).

I was surprised by the quality of the movie—the acting, the clarity, and the lack of dark makeup and exaggeration common in silent films. Maria Falconetti did an excellent job of portraying Joan.  Her facial expressions conveyed her emotions so well, she had little need for speech. I must add that if Joan hadn’t fainted at the site of the torture instruments being readied for her, I would have. The judges, already easy to dislike because of their obvious predetermination to convict Joan, were made even less likeable by being portrayed by unattractive men often shot in intimidating close-ups.

Other than it being a depressing true tale of a woman’s death (never a favorite storyline for me), it was well-done. My negative comments are these: too many close-ups, it was missing some subtitles, it was long (I must admit that I skipped some of it), and too time spent with the characters looking at each another.

Jaz: If you’re looking for harrowing scenes and emotionally haunting close-ups, look no farther than 1928. Forget about the undeserving Les Misérables. The Passion of Joan of Arc is the true master of the art.

What struck me about this film was its clarity. Every wrinkle, every spot, every glance of the eyes – especially those of gifted actress Maria Falconetti – are recorded in astounding detail. I also noticed many of the camera angles focused on the assembly were shot from below, while those on Joan were from above. It gives a sense of the judges’ intimidation and power and Joan’s contrasting humility. Joan of Arc’s shots mostly depict her in tears or wide-eyed anguish – a stark contrast to her battle-related history (not shown in the film).

Watching this film made me wonder how close it came to the actual trial. Googling “trial of Joan of Arc” immediately brought up the translated text. While I just skimmed over it – it’s lengthy – I noted the judges in particular focused on her style of dress and why she didn’t perform “womanly duties.” Her response? There are enough other women to do them.

Other things I discovered: she was a skilled sewer and owned over a dozen horses (5 chargers and over 7 hackneys).

One thing I noticed in the film was a drawing of a winged dragon-like creature on one of the prison walls. It was shown twice. In a film with this much dedication to detail, I’m sure it’s of significance – but of what?

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To summarize, this isn’t the kind of film you watch for trivial entertainment. It’s deeply moving, graphic (the bloodletting scene is real), and you view with the knowledge that there will be no happy ending. But it’s the kind of film you’ll never regret watching.

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Love is Unconditional

A few weeks ago, when first introducing our latest theme of “Love Ain’t Easy”, I promised a special guest post from a friend who has just released her first novel. Here is it! Tanya Eavenson, author of Unconditional, has given us a sneak peak of her novel, and if you leave a comment, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free ebook copy of Unconditional. 

Without further ado, here’s Tanya Eavenson:

Picture2 As an author, people at times have asked me if my characters are influenced by movies or television. I guess I would have to say it depends on the story.

Right now I’m in the editing process of a Historical Romance set in 1889 called The Rescue. During the time of writing this story, I had been watching a lot of Big Valley and learning about horses from a local horse farm. The things I learned played out on TV whether it was roping or saddling a horse. However, it was different when it came to my newest release Unconditional.

I guess you can say Unconditional was inspired by brokenness. Many families, both churched and un-churched, find themselves struggling in their marriages for one reason or another, but I believe if we fight for our marriages and follow after Christ, He will be the One to grow in us an uncommon love, an unconditional love for our spouses.

See, I’ve experienced this first hand. I, too, almost went down that route with divorce papers in hand. I told myself many things at the time, but the truth. I was focused on our failures, not the hope that with God, all things are possible. The question was, were we willing to save our marriage at all costs? Would we fight for each other, whether we felt like it or not?

Tanya Cover Here is the blurb from my novel Unconditional:

He will fight for her at any cost…

Elizabeth Roberts can’t remember her past, and the present is too painful. She turns to nightclubs and drinking to forget her infant daughter’s death, her husband’s affair.

When his wife’s coma wiped out the memory of their marriage, Chris Roberts found comfort elsewhere. He can’t erase his betrayal, but with God’s help he’s determined to fight for Elizabeth at any cost.

She wants to forget. He wants to save his marriage. Can they trust God with their future and find a love that’s unconditional?

A fun scene:

By the way, the beginning of this scene was influenced when I couldn’t hold on to a boat dock years ago. =)

 

“Chris! Hurry!” Elizabeth’s sunglasses disappeared into the dark murky water.

On the pier several yards away, Chris laughed. “What happened? You’re supposed to be holding down the fort.”

“Not a moving fort. A boat drove by and waves rocked me around. I couldn’t hold onto the dock. My sunglasses fell into the water. And it’s not funny.” She threw her hands on her hips. “Those were my favorite pair!” She couldn’t resist the humor of the moment. Plopping her bottom onto the boat seat, she laughed. “How am I supposed to get the boat back to you?”

“Maybe you should use the trolling motor.”

Okay, she could do this. She rose and stood over the machine. Gently sliding the trolling motor into the water, she found the switch and planted her foot onto the lever and leaned it forward to head toward the dock. The boat lurched further toward the lake. “This isn’t working.”

“Play with it. Watch the direction.” He sat on the dock, legs hanging just above the water.

“You’re sitting. Thanks for the vote of confidence.” I’ll show him. Slowly she rolled her foot until the boat changed direction and headed for the dock.

Christ stood up. “You’re doing it. Just a little closer and I’ll jump in.”

She eased her foot off the pedal and headed toward the seats in the back when Chris jumped in. His weight tipped the boat to one side, throwing her off balance.

His arms snagged her from the boat’s edge, pulling her against his chest.

Words escaped her. Their lips inches apart. She lost her breath.

“I have you.”

“Yes, you do.” She giggled and pulled back from him, watching her steps as she secured her footing. “I don’t know if I should kiss you and get it over with, or wait until later.”

Chris jerked his chin up. “Well then, I’m anxious to find out what you decide.”

“I’ll let you know.” She smirked, and planted herself into one of the seats.

He leaned back into the driver’s chair, turned the key, and cranked the engine. “Are you ready?”

She nodded with a smile. Within moments they were racing across the lake, spraying water and leaving waves in their wake. Birds flew underneath a crystal blue sky. Chris would call it a blue bird day with not a cloud for miles, but she’d call it beautiful.

Elizabeth enjoyed the wind rushing past her ears, flipping her hair behind her, but when the wind died down as the boat slowed, she twisted in his direction. “Where are we?”

“I have to check my map, but this looks like a great place to fish. I brought two rods. Would you like to give it a shot?”

“I’m game if you don’t mind cutting out a nest again.” She rose from the seat.

“Optimism.” He leaned in and kissed her forehead.

She held his arm. “Don’t move yet, let me enjoy this moment.” She felt his body hesitate, then with soft kisses, his lips traced her hair line. “You’ve left me breathless.”

“I’m the one who’s having difficulty breathing. I better get those rods.” He took a few steps to the rod compartment and yanked them out. Chris shot her a smile before trolling over to the side of the lake in front of a cove opening.

“All right, stand over here.” He pointed.

“Do you want to cast it for me?”

“Why don’t you try first?” He showed her how to hold the rod with her finger on the reel and line as she cast.

“Are you ready?”

Chris laughed. “You’re not planning to toss me overboard?”

“No… but I suggest you stand back so I don’t hook you.”

Chris moved as she raised the rod. In one fine motion, she flung the rod forward. It left her hand. She hurried over the edge of the boat as the rod sank into the lake. A movement drew her eyes from the spot where the rod fell in and she turned to see Chris splash into the water beside her.

“Chris!” He disappeared under the water. Did he hit his head? He wasn’t wearing a life jacket. Alligators. Without another thought, she jumped in. “Chris!” She dove under.

“Elizabeth!” Her name sounded muffled through the water.

She popped up and tried to blink the murky moisture from her eyes. “Chris, are you okay? What happened? Did you bump your head?” She swam to him and searched for blood.

“No. I jumped in for the rod. That combo is worth three hundred dollars. I couldn’t find it.”

“That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” She smacked her hand on the water’s surface and swam back to the boat. “To think, I jumped into alligator infested waters.”

A smile lit his face. “You know what that means don’t you?” He helped her back into the boat, climbing up behind her, and shook his hair.

“What? I’m stupid?”

He tapped her chin. “That you love me. You’re willing to risk your life for me.”

He took off his shirt, socks and shoes and laid them in front of the boat. “You could do the same.” He grinned. “I’ll get you the blanket.”

“Um… I’m fine.” Her eyes refused to turn from the man in front of her. Heat crawled up her neck when Chris met her gaze. Did he see her desire? Her heart pounded as she turned toward the water. She needed to focus on something else, but her thoughts went back to her husband standing inches away.

“Are you ready to eat?”

“Sure.” When she turned back around, she forced herself to meet his gaze. She almost laughed at herself, at how hard she was trying not to notice her own husband. Lord, I’m attracted to him. Help me to trust because You know my heart.

“Here you go.” Chris handed her a sandwich.

The heat returned to her cheeks. “Thank you.”

 

Thank you for visiting! Below is a few links where you can find me on the web so stop by and say hello. I’m looking forward to connecting with you! In the meantime, it’s your turn! If you’re a writer, what has influenced your writing? Maybe movies, TV, or music? Love to hear your thoughts, and when you leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win an ebook copy of Unconditional.

 

Website: http://www.tanyaeavenson.com/

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