After an almost two-year-long creative process and negotiations with international film institutions, the organisers of the European film forum Scanorama have confirmed the rumour that Scanorama will present an impressive spectacle of music and film this year: the premiere of The Passion of Joan of Arc by Carl Theodor Dreyer at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre accompanied by music created especially for this film by Bronius Kutavičius.
The masterpiece of silent cinema, La passion de Jeanne d’Arc created by Carl Theodor Dreyer in 1928 about the saint martyr of , was condemned and prohibited at once, and the film itself was forged and burned many times. Only after over five decades the original copy, which has magically survived, was found in the Psychiatric Clinic of Oslo. This visually astounding version of the film will be presented to the audience of
Vilnius . Interestingly, Carl Theodor Dreyer chose the single filming technique to express the power of Joan of Arc’s faith and hope: the face of actress Maria Falconetti expressing the heroine’s emotions. The director rejected all pathetic visual effects in the film.
The organisers have chosen not only an unusual venue for the premiere (Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre), but also an extraordinary form. The film will be screened with a live accompaniment of music composed by Bronius Kutavičius especially for this film. It will be performed by the St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra conducted by Donatas Katkus.
According to Gražina Arlickaitė, director of the European film forum Scanorama, this synthesis of music and film and the desire to join classical European cinema and the tradition of contemporary Lithuanian music into a harmonious whole has been a challenge to the organisers and to the composer Bronius Kutavičius. “Carl Theodor Dreyer’s unique visual solution required an exceptional presentation. The idea to supplement the film with music created for this purpose by a Lithuanian composer was particularly daring. We are happy that we have managed to realise this risky idea; now we have only to present it to the audience. Since this event will take place only once, we hope that all the most faithful film and music lovers will come to see it. They have to see what will never be repeated,” Gražina Arlickaitė says.
It took more than a year for Bronius Kutavičius to create music for Carl Theodor Dreyer’s film The Passion of Joan of Arc. According to the famous composer, the process was very complicated. “It was a huge problem to capture the character, the rhythm, the moods of music and to melt all this into a total whole without killing the film with music and without loosing synchronicity,” Kutavičius remembers the long process of creation.
The audience will have an opportunity to see the synthesis of music and film in The Passion of Joan of Arc on the 5th of November at 7 p.m. at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre.
The Passion of Joan of Arc project is part of the
Vilnius – European Capital of Culture programme.