I just want to come clean and admit that despite my projecting a devotional film buff profile all my life or at least since the ‘80s, I never got around to seeing Carl Dreyer‘s The Passion of Joan of Arc (’28) until last night.

But I finally went there, man, and now I’m “experienced” in the Jimi Hendrix sense of the term.

An English-subtitled version of the definitve director’s cut (i.e., the 1981 Oslo version) became available for free public domain streaming on 1.1.24, you see, and that’s what I watched. Lying in bed, MacBook Pro, best headphones.

Good God, what a lapel-grabbing, no-way-out masterpiece! Right away it leaps out at you and says “stop scrolling and whatever the hell else you’re doing and grim up and give it up and watch this, will you?”

I knew right away it was made by a genius…a no-bullshit artist from the same general gene pool as Eisenstein, Murnau, Fincher, Eggers, Kubrick, Ford, Bresson, Fellini, Kurosawa, Scorsese, Powell.

The incessant close-ups, the feeling of Dreyer being in total control, the penetrating focus, the brilliant use of montage, the tracking shots, the sets (painted pink so as to stand out against the white sky), the anguish, the purity, the pain and the cruelty.

What a bleeding, bllistering, open-hearted titular performance by Renee Jean Falconetti.

And the cinematography by Ruolph Mate, who also shot Foreign Correspondent and Gilda and directed D.O.A., When Worlds Collide and The 300 Spartans (a decent sword-and-sandal epic).

I can’t stand tapping this out on the iPhone with the car running…more later.