La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc

It's "Culture Week" in Reykjavik, there are so many things going on in town it makes your head spin. A group called "Deus ex cinema" that shows films relating somehow to religion had a very special event set up - a midnight film in the cathedral, La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, a silent film from 1928 by a famous Danish filmmaker, Carl Theodor Dreyer, with live organ and Gregorian chants. The organ music was composed by Wilfried Kaets, a German organist, who was playing.

The cathedral has modern pews that can be turned facing the altar - for church - or facing the back, for cultural activites. There was a large screen hung and a beamer that was to backlight the screen with the movie, the organ had a monitor for the organist to better see without having to crane his neck.

The cathedral was full, maybe 200 people! They began late (we are, you see, in Iceland) - and the picture quality was horrible. I know it is a restauration, but I have seen bits before, it was not this bad. The picture on the organ monitor was much better - that meant the beamer was not correctly set up.

The quality was so bad, some people began leaving after 5 minutes. After 30 they interrupted the program to say that they needed to fix it. The organist was livid to be interrupted in his presentation! A guy got a ladder and started going through all the menus, playing with them, trying to get it correctly set up. He didn't try the one menu that would have fixed the problem, in my opinion.

As he was going through the menus for a third time, I couldn't sit still and went up to suggest that he try this menu he kept avoiding. "No, no," he said, "This is expensive equipment. That is not the problem." Translation: what does a woman know about beamers?

We watched them fiddle for another 15 minutes or so, then heard that they had decided the DVD was "broken" (although the picture was fine on the organ monitor) and they were going to burn a new one. Sigh. We got our money back, I thanked the organist (who was still fuming) and went home for a nice whiskey-cola before bed.


Wilfried Kaets said...

Ja, so war das tatsächlich.
Enttäuschend auch für mich als Komponisten, der nach über 400 Aufführungen mit Stummfilm in den letzten 20 Jahren hier fast zum ersten Mal die Technik aus der eigenen Hand gegeben hat aufgrund der logistischen Situation von Deutschland nach Island. Das war wohl ein Fehler, den im übrigen auch die Veranstalter nachher eingesehen haben..
Immerhin haben wir mit neuer - und guter Fassung - das Konzert nach einer knappen Stunde nochmal von vorne gestartet mit doch noch knapp 180 Zuschauern und es ist dann zumindest tief in der Nacht ein ziemlicher Erfolg geworden für die mutigen Nachteulen.
Wilfried Kaets, www.stummfilm-lve.de

Anonymous said...

You can watch The Passion of Joan of Arc online at MaidofHeaven.com


WiseWoman said...

Wonderful, wonderful, there she is, in the YouTube film at the top of the collection. Thanks for the tip, anonymous!

Anonymous said...

Here is a better link to the movie:
Watch The Passion of Joan of Arc here Free