Carl Theodor Dreyer and La Passion de Jeanne D'Arc: expanding avant-garde modernism in the early twentieth century

Update item information
Publication Type thesis
School or College Master of Arts
Department Art/Art History
Creator Dixon, Hilary
Title Carl Theodor Dreyer and La Passion de Jeanne D'Arc: expanding avant-garde modernism in the early twentieth century
Date 1999-08
Description Danish film maker, Carl Theodor Dreyer (1889-1964) is acknowledged as one o f the world's great directors. His 1927 film, La Passion de Jeanne d 'Arc is often cited as his greatest masterpiece. However, the works of Dreyer are rarely screened or discussed because they cannot be categorized or to placed within film historic movement or trend. Thus, Dreyer and his films need to be evaluated from a different point of view. An art historical perspective sheds new light on Dreyer and his film. Jeanne d'Arc was made in Paris in 1927, so it is necessary to briefly discuss the artistic clim ate 1920s Paris, including the state o f the French film industry. It is also important to understand who Carl Dreyer was, his artistic goals, and his early career. Only after understanding this context and Dreyer's proximity to avant-garde groups can Jeanne be analyzed in art historical terms. When placed in the context of Paris in the 1920s, Dreyer's work has many com monalities with avant-garde modernist art movements. The elements shared by both are the exploration of new mediums, rejection of past artistic tradition, interest in sychology, apoliticism, tendencies toward form al abstraction, attempts to make statement of universal truths, and remoteness from the mass public. Although Dreyer had many things in common with modernists, he stood apart because as a com mercial film maker, he was not intentionally elitist, his treatmen of women on film was unique, and he consciously rejected several avant-garde ideas. When Dreyer Jeanne are explored, some seem ing inconsistencies are revealed. His drive towards abstraction seems to conflict with is dem and for historically accurate detail, his desire to address the general public contradicts his film 's stylistic rem oteness, and his treatm ent o f women is in opposition to other avant-garde film m ak ers' vision of women. The first paradox is resolved upon understanding how Dreyer prioritized realism and abstraction. By understanding Dreyer's intention, and the abstract nature of his film, the second paradox becomes less problematic. Finally, when com paring the women in Jeanne with another modernist film, UnChien Andalou, it becomes evident that Dreyer was ultimately more forward thinking than his avant-garde contemporaries were.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Alternate Title Master of Fine Arts
Language eng
Rights Management (c)Hilary Dixon
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 24,658 bytes
Identifier ir-mfa/id/187
ARK ark:/87278/s6n3332q
Setname ir_mfafp
Date Created 2016-09-01
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 215108
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6n3332q
Back to Search Results