The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) at the National Cathedral
Just got back from seeing Carl Theodor Dreyer's Passion of Joan of Arc at the Washington National Cathedral with live choral and orchestral accompaniment (Voices of Light, by Richard Einhorn, performed by the Cathedral Choral Society). It was a breathtaking performance made richer by the setting and the score. And I'm happy to report that it was a packed house.
I last saw Passion almost 30 years ago and probably on a VHS tape and didn't remember how lyrical and expressive Renee Falconetti was in what is generally a pretty rough part. How does an actor avoid the beatified glow with eyes cast lovingly heavenward? Yet St. Joan was a terrified (teenaged) religious fanatic in a setting that would severely limit anyone's emotional range -- on trial and certainly destined for torture if not (and most likely) gruesome death. Falconetti conveys so much personality and intelligence (along with the crazy) that you forget it's a silent picture.
The film is beautiful, painful, and gorgeously shot. If you ever get the chance to see it with this music, you must.
I believe I will remember this experience for a very long time.