We understand that pathos may have a mixed reputation among some movie buffs. However, we believe that when used well, it serves what it describes. Therefore, dear Cinema Lovers:
We are delighted to announce that the first edition of Timeless Film Festival Warsaw will be opening with a unique event. On April 8, 2024, the Warsaw Philharmonic will host a screening of the legendary Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, France, 1928) by Carl Th. Dreyer, featuring a symphony composed specifically for the occasion by Stefan Wesołowski. The symphony will be presented by the National Orchestra and Choir of Poland. In our opinion: there is much to look forward to.
Little would have occurred, and the world might never have fully embraced one of the most significant films ever made. Shortly after its release, the original tape met its demise in a fire, and predominantly censored copies circulated. However, fortune smiled upon us – a director’s cut of The Passion was discovered in Norway in 1981, granting us the opportunity to engage with a narrative that penetrates through the thickest skin, reaching the very soul.
The Martyrdom of Joan of Arc is a work inspired to the very core. At the heart of its power is the pulsating presence of Renée Jeanne Falconetti in the lead role (the Virgin of Orleans on trial for her faith), whose profound devotion radiates through her face in the most varied configurations. This is “a historical document from an era in which the cinema didn’t exist” (as Jean Cocteau wrote), dedicated to a mythologized figure who miraculously springs to life before our eyes. In 2024, we will celebrate the 85th anniversary of this remarkable film.
The music was specially composed for the festival. Dozens of members from the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir will showcase the outcome of months of collaboration with Stefan Wesołowski, a highly talented and versatile artist from the younger generation, seamlessly blending classical music with electronics. Wesołowski has garnered acclaim for three solo albums and is the co-founder of the duo Nanook of the North. As part of this duo, alongside Piotr Kaliński, he presented live performances of the music they composed for the famous film Nanook of the North, directed by Robert J. Flaherty.
Creating a new soundtrack for The Passion of Joan of Arc by Carl Th. Dreyer is in several respects, the biggest and most exciting undertaking I have embarked upon. Roman Gutek reached out with a dreamlike proposal: ‘You have the National Philharmonic Orchestra, a choir, an organ and free rein.’ For a composer, a space virtually free of constraints is both a situation of giving you wings and generating a certain amount of pressure. The key to making it bearable for me became separating myself from any contexts and comparisons. I closed myself alone with Dreyer’s masterpiece, with all its mysteriousness, and began my daily, painstaking work. For several weeks, I got up at four in the morning, as if for Lauds, and delved into scene after scene, sculpting a musical space around them. I’m still working on it, but I’m aiming for the audience to organically feel the immense power of the story during the screening of the film, to experience pain and emotion, as well as the simple satisfaction of interacting with outstanding cinema,– Stefan Wesołowski said of his work on the symphony.
The event is part of the film cinema concerts section, which will feature various Polish and international artists, including Swedish sound artist Ellen Arkbro (organ), Japanese composer and multi-instrumentalist Eiko Ishibashi, cellist Dobrawa Czocher, Dutch lutenist and guitarist Jozef Van Wissem, Belgian composer Wim Mertens, Sinfonia Varsovia performing Paweł Mykietyn’s music for Jerzy Skolimowski’s Eo, and the ensembles XYLOS and Małe Instrumenty. The musical events will culminate with screenings of Miloš Forman’s Amadeus at the National Opera, performed by the Chorus and Orchestra of the Polish National Opera.
Timeless Film Festival Warsaw will be held from April 8-15, 2024.
February 28, 2024 – Sale of passes and accreditation begins
March 6, 2024 – Announcement of the complete festival program
March 13, 2024 – Start of online sales of tickets for screenings