Campus News


1928 Cinematic Milestone Silent Film is Reimagined with Live Music

1928 Cinematic Milestone Silent Film is Reimagined with Live Music at Soka Performing Arts Center

A free event as part of Soka University’s 15th anniversary celebration


Aliso Viejo, CA – The classic silent film “La passion de Jeanne d’Arc” will be resurrected through the compositional talent of George Sarah on Friday, October 28, 2016 at 8 p.m. at Soka Performing Arts Center. This event continues the celebration of Soka University’s 15th anniversary with a free event for the public. A ticket is required for entry. Reserve tickets online at or by calling 949-480-4ART (4278).

Composer George Sarah has written a musical score to accompany this film screening, which will be performed by his string quartet and vocalists. Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer and starring Renée Jeanne Falconetti as Joan of Arc, “La passion de Jeanne d’ Arc” is widely regarded as a landmark of cinema, especially for its production, Dreyer’s direction and Falconetti’s performance, which is often listed as one of the finest in cinema history.

This 1928 silent French film is based on the actual record of the trial of Joan of Arc. The film traces the time Joan of Arc was held captive in England, depicting her trial and later execution. Renée Jeanne Falconetti, a stage actress, plays Joan in her only major film role. Her performance and dedication to the role during filming is renowned among film scholars. To add to the realistic quality of the film, Dreyer didn’t allow the actors to wear makeup and used lighting designs that made the actors look more grotesque. The set was modeled after medieval architecture to convey the realistic construction of the Rouen prison by shooting on a huge concrete set. The film is famous for its cinematography and close-ups. Due to the controversial nature of the film, Dreyer’s final cut was edited. For decades the film was only viewed in several re-edited versions. In 1981, however, Dreyer’s original final cut was discovered. It has since been re-released.

George Sarah’s haunting new score reimagines this classic with a modern urgency. Combining electronic music with strings and sacred chant by members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, composer Sarah has crafted an unforgettable visual and auditory experience. He has garnered acclaim for his unique compositions of electronic chamber music, which have been featured on numerous television shows such as “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “CSI.” Sarah has been a mainstay on the L.A. music scene since 1985. He is a founding member of the electronic, industrial band Stereotaxic Device (1988-1992) and the composer/producer for triphop, drum and bass band THC (1993-1998).