Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dreyer's 'Passion' With Live Oratorio
at Oakland's Paramount Theatre on Dec 2

(The incredible actress Falconetti as Joan of Arc.)

I've seen Carl Dreyer's phenomenal silent film "The Passion of Joan of Arc" four times in a theatre, and once on television, but it's a film I cannot "play" in my mind. This inability may be due to the fact that this unquestioned classic is so fresh and immediate, decades after it was made, that every time I see it again it's as though I'm seeing it for the first time.

Cineastes in the Bay Area will have a chance to see "Passion" on December 2 at 7:30 PM, at Oakland's historic Paramount Theatre. This truly special screening is sponsored by the venerable Pacific Film Archive, in collaboration with the movie palace and the Silent Film Festival, and features live music and vocal accompaniment.

The PFA program notes for this special event provide more info on the oratorio and musicians:

Conducted by Mark Sumner, Voices of Light will be performed by the women of UC Berkeley’s Perfect Fifth as the voice of Joan of Arc, tenor soloist Daniel Ebbers, baritone Martin Bell, the University of California Alumni Chorus, UC Men’s and Women’s Chorales, and a twenty-two piece orchestra.

This unique fusion of film and live music is part of the PFA's current retrospective of Dreyer films, and I hope to catch several of them before the series is over in mid December. Click here for a listing of the dates and times of the remaining films to be shown.

For film-lovers who will be traveling from San Francisco to the Paramount Theatre via BART, take the train to the 19th Street station and then walk to the theatre. Further directions and a map of the area are located here.

I've already purchased my ticket for this very special evening, and have also recruited four friends to join me on December 2. Between now and then, I hope to persuade more friends to catch "Passion" as it was meant to be seen - on a big screen in a theatre with an audience.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased in advance at the PFA box office on the UC Berkeley campus. You can also click here to buy tickets online. Depending on availability, tickets may also be on sale the night of the event, but why take a chance that it might be sold out?


SF Silent Film Fest said...

Hi Michael,

Great post. Did you end up catching and enjoying the show? If so, what an amazing performance, right? We'd love to hear your thoughts on the night.

Michael said...

Hello Silent Film Festival Friends,

I did indeed make it to the Paramount for the "Passion" showing and was left speechless. (Pardon my pun!) The entire evening, starting when Susan Oxtoby of the PFA made her intro remarks, then the great film and fabulous singers and musicians bringing the story to new life, to the standing ovation at the end, was a fine experience. Glad I brought friends who've never seen the film and introduced them to a great silent work. Looking forward to your next edition of your film festival. Lemme know how I can help publicize it when we get closer to it.