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Aleksandr Sokurov directs this German-language adaptation of the classic tale about a man who sells his soul to the Devil. The story, woven into the fabric of Western culture thanks to the influential theatrical adaptations by playwrights Christopher Marlowe and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, follows a scientist, Faust (Johannes Zeiler), in search of knowledge. However, while in Goethe's version Faust is in search of the secrets of the universe, Sokurov's scientist has far more base motives. Obsessed with the beautiful Margarete (Isolda Dychauk), Faust makes a deal with the Devil's representative on Earth, the Moneylender (Anton Adasinsky), to gain the secrets that will win Margarete's heart, but what price will the Moneylender extract in return?
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Top Customer Reviews
Desire for earthly knowledge over that of the divine was the central theme of the original story. Here in this fine film version (Russian made, German dialogue) Faust mainly desires sex, not earthly knowledge. He is smitten by a young nubile beauty, the daughter of a coarse peasant who treats her daughter (known as Margarete) as a prized piece of property. Beauty such as hers must not be squandered. It must be used to acquire further property. And so the daughter, always dressed in tight corsets and cumbersome hooped dresses, is watched and protected. But lurking on the perimeter of social affairs in the village is Faust, a middle-aged professor of science and philosophy. Magarete notices this, her curiosity for him aroused. Bashful, modest and inexperienced she may be, but her innocence does not blind her to the ways of the world. She understands what Faust represents and wants.
Their glances are furtive, their chances to speak slim, as Margarete is always chaperoned when walking outside. Much of what they communicate is done almost telepathically.
In the local graveyard during a somber funeral and burial they stand next to one another in a small crowd. All eyes are on the coffin as it is lowered into the ground. Faust gently moves his hand toward hers. They touch. She looks up at him, a chaste smile on her beautiful, pure face. He looks straight ahead, not daring to be seen looking into her cheerful eyes.
After this we know what must follow. Faust does too, but Margarete cannot be procured by orthodox means.Read more ›
Beautifully composed, replete with allegorical poetic symbolism rippling throughout, the film is a shaken mixture between the "Hourglass Sanatorium" and Tarkovsky's dreamworld with a dash of Haneke's "The Castle"; a type of left field wander through the layers of the mind into the interior.
If you have the patience, fortitude, intelligence and imagination to work your way through the cinema of the soul, then this will lead you around a philosophical labyrinth and then drop you off, onto a barren desolate world of an uninhabited interior.
Shot in an experimental exploratory style, set in a medieval city, but depicting life during the 1800's, it is a filmic treat of exploration.
A surreal journey into desires, dreams, wants and how it matches against reality. German with English subtitles, it is also a brilliant way to spreche sie deutsche, as the pronunciations bring the language back to the memory banks.
Look within the allegories, metaphors and myths to understand this film.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the film that won the Golden Lion at Venice and I am waiting for someone to tell me if the theatrical release of this film in the cinemas was as washed out as this Blu-ray. Read morePublished 21 months ago by mysterioustraveller
Unwatchable and pretty disgusting. Not enjoyable and not really very well done. Some critics liked it, not sure why, critics can be weird like that.Published 23 months ago by Andrew Hunt
Faust by sokolov is enchanting, horrifying, mystical and magical. The beauty of corruption, the devastation of downfall. Hypnotic and lyrical. Read morePublished on 15 Jan. 2014 by Jonathan M. Winell
It is interesting to find out more about the real Faust legend, but this film is rather hard to follow and a bit too weird for me...Published on 12 Jan. 2014 by ViviQ
Just the kind of film that just cant dissapoint you. A real masterpiece. The photo, story, acting and the music is wonderful.Published on 1 Oct. 2013 by Sven Lundberg