In The Passion of Joan of Arc the use of a silent film was very effective for showing emotion to the audience. This emotion is shown through the musical soundtrack, the close up frames, and through other techniques that the director uses. With the lack of speech from the characters, emotion can be hard to show if not done correctly.
The emotion of the movie has a lot to do with the music. When I first watched this film, I had watched it without sound. Needless to say it was a little hard to sit through, but adding the music added so much more to the films quality. For example, during the scene where they take Joan to the torture room the music added more emotion to the scene. Had the music not been added to the movie the viewers would not have had the same sense of emotion from the film.
The close facial shots is a signature technique that is used by the director for this film. This technique allows the director to show how the characters are responding without hearing the tone in their voice. One shot from the movie that best shows this is when Joan is being prosecuted by the judges. In the first shot below we see Joan’s fear in her eyes. We do not need to know how her voice sounds to know that she is fearful and offended by the question. In the next shot we see the judges facial expression. This shows us that he is determined for her to answer these questions, and that he does not sympathize with her unwillingness to answer all of their questions. If the actor’s did not do show enough emotion then the silent film would fail. The viewers need to be able to understand their characters, and be able to see and feel what they are feeling. The director, and the actors of this film do a great job at showing this.
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One of the last things that the director does to really get the emotion of the trial to the audience is by ignoring the 180 degree rule. In class we talked about in The Seven Samurai the 180 degree was used correctly. This is where during conversations the camera shot during a conversation is not suppose to turn 180 degrees, but in The Passion of Joan of Arc this is ignored. We can see this when the camera goes from Joan’s face to one of the Judges face during the question. (an example of both of these shots are shown above). This method allows the director to show all of the characters emotion, and is not really questioned as being a wrong technique.