Lori Goldston Scores The Passion of Joan of Arc @ Northwest Film Forum
A live score from a notable local 🎼
Published May 26, 2023
Thursday, June 1st • 8 pm
The Passion of Joan of Arc, directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer in 1928, is a startlingly intimate silent film. The camera zeroes in on faces, particularly that of lead actress Renee Maria Falconetti, and stays there, never giving in to even a brief establishing shot. The script is based on trial transcripts, stripped of historical and mythological context, and the small frame forces you to face the human reality of the story: An unwavering teenage girl being interrogated, tortured, and eventually burned to death at the stake. It’s haunting, and it pairs well with a cello; a live score by lauded local cellist Lori Goldston, whose accolades include playing with Nirvana for their eerie MTV Unplugged performance, is the perfect way to plunge into its depths.
Passion stands out from other silent-era films for its intensity, with none of the camp that gathers on early cinema as it ages. That, and the added mythos of being considered lost until a perfect print miraculously turned up in a Norwegian mental institution in 1981, has inspired a cult following—and made it a particular magnet for modern scoring. Goldston has a close relationship with the material; this isn’t the first time she’s scored The Passion of Joan of Arc live, and there’s even a studio version on her Bandcamp if you want to scope out her style in advance. She’ll be playing to a 16mm version gifted to her by beloved and prolific Pacific Northwest archivist Dennis Nyback, who died of cancer this past October at 69; the performance is dedicated to him.
📸: Janus Films
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Sarah Anne Lloyd is a writer and lifelong Seattleite whose work has appeared in Seattle Met, The Stranger, Seattle Weekly, KNKX, and others. She lives on the outskirts of West Seattle with her partner, an absolutely perfect dog, and six terrifying chickens. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahannelloyd.