Joan of Arc
Produced and directed by
Terry MacNamara & Victor Sanders
Illustrations by Terry MacNamara
Edited by Victor Sanders
© 2014 Terry MacNamara
Based on the song 'Joan of Arc'
by Terry MacNamara
inspired by the statue
by Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington
The first statue by a woman
and the first monument to a woman
to be installed in New York City
Shot in New York City on the 100th Anniversary of the statue:
-In Kurosawa's classic film Rashomon,
a crime is filtered through the eyes and agendas of each of four participants
who tell quite different versions of the same events.
Each observer attributes highly personal motives for actions taken,
and molds the selectively remembered facts to present a version of the story
that tells more about the storyteller than the actual event.
A public monument is a bit like that.
Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington's moving sculpture “Joan of Arc’
is astride her Charger, her sword held aloft and her mouth open
as if pronouncing an oath of courage in the face of danger.
She reflects the troubled world of each viewer who sees it
and calls on each of us to measure up to Joan's confidence and devotion to duty.
But we viewers do not live in Joan's time. We don't worry about the French crown,
or which of two opposing Popes to follow. We live in today's world.
In our time Joan of Arc is often regarded as a symbol of a woman taking her deserved place in a society
slowly adapting to a more inclusive democratic and economic ideal.
Still, each woman seeing Joan in the park will see her as representing her own particular issues.
The song was written to explore that community of individuals:
The women who live and work around the great bronze statue.
Each verse is a different woman's private take on the mighty yet vulnerable mounted figure,
grounded in her own real-world situation.
From the start, the idea had been to try a new approach to the music video genre.
Instead of a single interpreter of the songwriter’s point of view,
we chose to cast four great Chicago women to sing one verse-portrait each.
We also knew we wanted to avoid any “lip-syncing”,
so each of the twelve musicians playing on the song, were shot live as they sang and played their instruments.
The illustrations were drawn, photographed and colorized by me, and wonderfully edited by Victor.
Here the goal was to create something different from animation.
The use of drawings, which while remaining still, evolve in a painterly manner,
hopefully giving the video the effect of being an illustrated book,
with the text supplied by the lyrics of the song.
When Victor Sanders, Sarah Calamaro, and I arrived in New York from our base in Chicago
to photograph the statue for this music video, we found it decorated with flowers.
By merest chance we had arrived on May 31st - the date that Joan of Arc had been burned at the stake.
By further coincidence, our arrival coincided with the 100th anniversary of the statue's installation in 1914.
We had a feeling that our project was well aligned with synchronicity when a final confirmation manifested itself.
Seated by the sandbox in the children's park next to the statue with my video camera beside me,
I observed Sarah playing with her granddaughter and giving me a telling nod of the head and point of the chin which revealed another young girl playing with her father and brother.
The little girl's hair was decorated with a garland of woven flowers,
and in her hands she bravely brandished a plastic sword and a shield emblazoned with the French fleur-de-lis.
I quietly filmed our little found Joan, and she can be seen behind the film's credits.
The project has felt blessed from the start.
It has gathered energy from all the great musicians who gathered at Lakeside Media in Chicago,
and all the friends who offered support and listened
to the project as it grew from their collective gravitas.
Thanks to all, to Anna Hyatt Huntington for her great sculpture,
and to the multitude of women who have sought inspiration from Joan
as she calls them to courage in Riverside park.
Terry MacNamara, 2014