I bought this film because it won the Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival (2011). The film was difficult. I mean it required a lot of attention and focus from the viewer especially with the added difficulty of reading the subtitles before they disappear. Though I am used to watching subtitled films, I found this one a bit challenging because the subtitles would disappear so quickly, and sometimes I had to rewind or pause the film in order to take in the dialogue. I think if the subtitles' pace was a bit slower and the font a bit larger, watching the film would have been a much easier and pleasant experience.
I think I made a mistake by watching the film without first reading Goethe's Faust and Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus. My background of the Faust legend was not sufficient to truly appreciate the film in its entirety. I really recommend those who want to watch this film to read more about Faust. At least, you should have some background information on the topic from the Internet; Wikipedia for example. What I am going to do now is to read Goethe's Faust and watch another Faust film directed by the F.W. Murnau in 1926.
The silver lining of this film is that it introduced me to this legend and made me curious to read and learn more about it and that's why I do not feel bad after watching this somewhat challenging film.
Watching this film reminded me of other directors such as Andrei Tarkovsky (Stalker), and Wojciech Jerzy Has (The Hour-Glass Sanatorium). If you have already watched for any of these directors and liked their films, then you are very likely to love this one, too.
The directing, acting, the cinematography, the setting, the costumes were all great and evocative of the era in which this story took place.
Unfortunately, there were no extra features on the DVD. I wished there were some to make the experience of watching the film richer and more informative.
If you want to watch this film I suggest you do some research about the legend of Faust if you are not familiar with it, and bear with the swift subtitles if you do not understand German.
Umm, I will give it 4 stars : )