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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mikaël, Chained: The Story of the Third Sex (1924) and The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Mikaël, Chained: The Story of the Third Sex (1924) a/k/a Michael (1924) Silent gay theme classic Walter Slezak, Benjamin Christensen, Nora Gregor Mikaël, Chained: The Story of the Third Sex, and Heart's Desire was a silent film released in 1924 (approx. 90 minutes), directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, director of other notable silents such as The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Master of the House (1925), and Leaves from Satan's Book (1921). The film stars Walter Slezak as the titular Michael, the young assistant and model to the artist Claude Zoret (Benjamin Christensen). Along with Different From the Others (1919) and Sex in Chains (1928), Michael is widely considered a landmark in gay silent cinema. Dreyer based Michael on the gay Danish author, and theatre director, Herman Bang's classic "decadent" 1902 novel of the same title. It is the second screen adaptation of the book, the first being "The Wings", made eight years prior by director Mauritz Stiller. Michael, however, follows Bang's storyline much more closely than the earlier film version. Plot ... A famous painter named Claude Zoret falls in love with one of his models, Michael, and for a time the two live happily as partners. Zoret is considerably older than Michael, and as they age, Michael begins to drift from him, although Zoret is completely blind to this ... Original Score by Brian Pinette


The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (French: La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc) is a silent film produced in France in 1928. It is based on the trial records of Joan of Arc. The film was directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer and stars Renée Jeanne Falconetti. Antonin Artaud plays an important supporting role. It is widely regarded as a landmark of cinema, especially for its production, its direction and Falconetti's performance, which has been described as being among the best performances in film history.

The film summarizes the time that Joan of Arc was a captive of the English. It depicts her trial, imprisonment, torture, and execution much as a passion play would ... Written on her confession, Joan is referred to as Jehanne appelée La Pucelle, or "Joan, called The Virgin" ... What especially stood out at the time when Passion was made was the film's camera-work and emphasis on the actors' facial features. Dreyer shot a great deal of the film in close-up and did not allow his actors to wear makeup, the better to tell the story through their expressions—this choice was made possible through use of the recently developed panchromatic film, which recorded skin tones in a naturalistic manner ... Falconetti's performance as Joan was her second and last film role. (110 min)

Original Scores, Brian Pinette
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