al Rogo (1954)
Giovanna d´Arco al Rogo 1954 dir Roberto Rossellini,
starring Ingrid Bergmann
by Paul Murphy
The Arsenal is a cinema dedicated to the history of
cinema and resides in Berlin´s Potsdamer Platz. Once upon a time this area was
known as Europe´s Time Square, it is now emerging from the torpor of the Cold
War, has been largely re-built as a jungle of concrete and glass. Berlin´s Sony
Centre is here, as is the HQ of Deutsche Bahn. There are commercial cinemas, a
film museum and the Arsenal.
Joan of Arc at the Stake was a co-production between Rossellini and his wife Ingrid Bergmann. On paper it looks to have been a promising project, the names Rossellini, Paul Claudel, Arthur Honegger and Bergmann are connected to the film. Derived from a libretto by Claudel, music by Honegger, the film is an all-too-literal attempt to transfer an opera to the screen. The music is foregrounded, doesn´t serve to counterpoint the action or enhance character development. The real problem is the supporting cast, however, who can be embarrassingly bad, actors who are really operatic stars rather than film actors. Bergmann is also far too squeaky clean for the role, almost nauseatingly pure, good. The idea of her doing heavy drinking, sex or drugs is wholly unimaginable.
A film for film purists or fans of Rossellini and\or Bergmann.
The Arsenal provides good facilities, some film books and magazines are on sale, seats are relatively cheap and comfortable.
Paul Murphy saw Inland Empire at the Arsenal cinema in Berlin.