Thursday, September 30, 2010

Joan of Arc film to be shown here

On Tuesday, the Silent Film Festival announced it would co-sponsor (along with the Pacific Film Archive and Paramount Theatre) a special screening of the 1928 silent film, The Passion of Joan of Arc. This special screening, set for December 2 at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre, will combines the performance of Richard Einhorn’s acclaimed choral and orchestral work "Voices of Light" with Carl Theodor Dreyer’s classic film.

For more information and ticket availability, please visit the Silent Film Festival website.

We are not sure when the first screening of Dreyer's masterpiece took place in the San Francisco Bay Area, but we do know that one of the earliest showings also took place in Oakland. As the newspaper clippings below tells, The Passion of Joan of Arc was shown at Mills College on Halloween night, October 31, 1929. Before hand, a talk was given by an educator who headed the Cinema Society of California. (Does anyone know anything about the history of this group - especially their activities in the 1920's or 1930's ? It is known, for example, that in the 1920's this pioneering group screened films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Battleship Potempkin, etc....)


The article references the first showing of the film in the United States, some six months earlier at the Little Carnegie Playhouse in New York City. Though the film was well thought of then (it has "significance"), it seems not to have enjoyed mainstream theatrical release. Instead, as an European silent film at the dawn of the talkie era, it made the rounds of art houses and school film programs where "Off-campus people" were welcomed.

However, despite the mention in the first article (on the left) that the Mills College screening would be the "only one in the bay region," the film seems to have also been screened on the UC Berkeley campus around the same time, as this newspaper advertisement suggests.


The efforts of local colleges in promoting classic films seems to have continued over the years, especially in regards to The Passion of Joan of Arc. In March, 1964 the Oakland City College screened Carl Dreyer’s film along with Anemic Cinema by Marcel Duchamp.

No comments:

Post a Comment