the passion of joan of arc (1928)
Dreyer's film is the rare work in cinema in which no cut is wasted, no shot included that does not wholly build intent, no sequence does not escalate the proceedings in this lean 80 minutes. It is also wholly a work of cinema, unimaginable in any other form, its silence speaks in a way that the film could not had it been produced only a few years later. What verve Dreyer unleashes as he slices through the celluloid space and time, placing us everywhere in the interrogation chamber, that trial hall, and Joan's inevitable execution, burned alive. How he cuts from one face to another, showing us not what is happening through the action we see the bodies of our actors producing, but the effects it is having on them mentally as emoted by their expressive visage. Emotional connections that Dreyer builds between each of our players onscreen, with close-up and styling of each, their design, he is able to create distinguishable characterizations without the need for explanation, context or dialog to flesh it out. Cinema is subjective, Dreyer seems to posit and we will be fully n the subjective world of our character, Joan, in a way that the theater is incapable of. Subjective experience versus objective truth plays a heavy role as Joan, whose visions she trusts as God himself instructing her, comes to blows with the collectively agreed-upon reality of the establishment, in this case the church.