Upon realizing that "The Passion of Joan of Arc" was playing during the PuSh festival, I instantly knew that I wanted to watch it. Having been brought up Catholic and possessing a rudimentary knowledge of what happened to her throughout her life, I wanted to learn more. The performance was amazing, emotional, heartfelt, etc. There are not enough descriptive words to illustrate my feelings throughout the performance's entirety. I was enthralled by it from beginning to end.
The setting of the performance was at Christ Church Cathedral in Downtown Vancouver. In my opinion, the PuSh festival could not have picked a better venue for this particular performance. Once I entered, I was overcome by a sense of peace, a feeling far removed from those that Falconetti, the actress portraying Joan of Arc, expressed throughout the silent movie. The vaulted ceilings, dark rafters, dimmed chandelier lighting and wooden benches gave it a Gothic feel which matched the antiquated film to perfection. I have never been a fan of silent movies; however, this one was the exception. The actors' (especially Falconetti) powerful expressions pulled at my heartstrings and left me with goose bumps and a longing to reach out to her during her most difficult times. Falconetti's eyes, radiating anguish and sorrow, filled the screen. Her tears, large and mournful, appeared to drop from the screen and onto the hardwood floors of the Cathedral. The accompanying orchestra, singer and pipe organs which played in unison with the silent movie brought the film to life. Each musical note, whether it be instrumental or vocal, matched Falconetti's anxiety, self-doubt, hesitancy, and finally, the acceptance of her impending death. I could not help but notice the pungent smell of anxiety that arose from those audience members that were within my surrounding area. Every one's eyes, including my own, were fixated on the screen, not moving, their faces revealing, what appeared to be regret and distress. At times, I was so transfixed by what was going on in the movie that I completely tuned out the music. My only focus was Falconetti's pain and the words that were on the screen communicating the actors' words. In the end, the movie felt so honest and genuine that I left the Cathedral mourning the loss of a heroine.