Carl Theodor Dreyer Dai Vaughan - Essay

Dai Vaughan

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

What kind of experiences shock the soul? What manner of abstraction is required for these spiritual experiences to be presented on film? Taking the Christian terms 'soul' and 'spirit' at their given values, I think these are questions which may usefully be kept in mind in any attempt to understand Dreyer. (p. 156)

Dreyer's Passion of Joan of Arc is concerned exclusively with the trial and martyrdom; and the crucial moment occurs in the scene leading up to Joan's retraction of her confession of heresy. As she watches a prison guard casually sweeping up the straw crown which has become, for her as for us, the symbol of her torments, she makes the decision which will lead her inevitably to the...

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