The Passion of Joan of Arc at the Union Chapel, 17 July 2013

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Just a quick note to tell you about a very special screening of one of our favourite silent films: Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc will be shown in the atmospheric setting of Islington’s Union Chapel in July.  It’s an intense, cathartic, grotesque and beautiful film – every silent film fan should see it at least once.

Do you need me to tell you that it’s based on the transcripts of Joan of Arc’s trial, that Falconetti’s performance will break your heart and it’s one of the greatest films of all time? No, you knew all that. So book your tickets already.

While the director famously intended the film to be played in silence, musicians over the years have created some unforgettable scores for this masterpiece – and this screening will be accompanied by organ, voice and electronic instrumentation. You can watch a clip of the film with this score in the video above.

On Wednesday 17th July the organ will be at centre stage in the musical accompaniment to a landmark screening of Carl Dreyer’s 1928 silent film The Passion Of Joan Of Arc. Composer Irene Buckley has created a haunting score to accompany what is widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, and this London premiere performance is set to send shivers down the spines of all of those lucky enough to witness it in the atmospheric surroundings of Union Chapel’s stunning Gothic architecture. Organist James McVinnie will bo on hand, and performed at the recent Royal Wedding, plus in concert with Philip Glass and Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire and he also recorded with The National on their latest album. This incredible production has recently sold out in Glasgow and Cork to great critical acclaim – it’s been hailed as “a once in a lifetime experience … pure cinema genius”. The Passion of Joan of Arc comes to London for one night only and cannot be missed.

Henry Willis Organ © Daniela Sbinsy
Henry Willis Organ © Daniela Sbinsy

Why the organ? Why the chapel? Well, the cine-concert is the highlight of a week of events at the Union Chapel called the Organ Project, celebrating the restoration of its classic Henry Willis organ, originally built in 1877:

Restoration is complete on the Union Chapel’s 19th Century organ, which will officially be launched to the public on 14 July 2013 in a week long programme encompassing traditional recitals, stunning contemporary performances and the London premiere of Carl Dreyer’s masterpiece of silent film, The Passion Of Joan Of Arc, set to a new critically acclaimed score for soprano, church organ and electronics. In the launch week and future concerts,The Organ Project will not only honour the legacy of this amazing instrument but also discover new musical perspectives by exploring styles and genres rarely attempted on a mechanical organ. Proceeds will go towards Union Chapel’s Organ Education Outreach Fund.

The Passion of Joan of Arc screens at the Union Chapel on 17 July 2013. Doors open at 7pm and the film will screen at 8.45pm. Tickets cost £15 in advance. Read more and book tickets here.

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