Presented with Opera Omaha and Omaha Under the Radar Carl Th. Dreyer’s 1928 silent masterpiece will feature a live performance of an original score by Omaha-based soprano and Omaha Under the Radar founder Amanda DeBoer Bartlett.

In the 1920s, as film was developing as an art form, theorist Bela Balázs wrote at length about film’s aesthetic differentiation from other arts like theater or literature. He concluded that the close-up was a powerful technique unique to film, and he argued THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC’s use of the close-up was monumental in defining the medium.

For Balázs, close-ups provided a “silent soliloquy, in which a face can speak with the subtlest shades of meaning without appearing unnatural and arousing the distance of the spectators. In this silent monologue, the solitary human soul can find a tongue more candid and uninhibited that any spoken soliloquy, for it speaks instinctively, subconsciously.”

Dreyer shot the majority of the film in close-up because he wanted to convey “the impression of watching reality through a keyhole.” The camera crops away the surroundings and brings our focus to actress Maria Falconetti’s expressive and tortured face, re-imagining how emotion is conveyed on film. The close-up, as Balázs puts it, “not only widened our vision of life, [but] has also deepened it.”

— Diana Martinez, Film Streams Education Director

The film will be introduced by James Darrah, the LA-based director of Opera Omaha’s production of “Flight” (April 21 & 23, 2017). Darrah has drawn inspiration as an artist for years from Dreyer’s classic film.

The live score will be performed by Jesse Langen (guitar/mandolin), Hannah Mayer (cello), Dana Murray (percussion), Kate Williams (accordion), and DeBoer Bartlett (voice).