Germany | 1926 | 107 min | 14A
The demon Mephisto wagers with God that he can corrupt a mortal man’s soul.
No one did Gothic folklore better than F.W. Murnau. The master director’s final German production before emigrating to Hollywood, Faust was the most expensive, high-concept Weimar film at the time of its 1926 release. With Emil Jannings portraying Mephisto and Gösta Ekman as Faust, its unprecedented imagery and grandiose storytelling serves as a highlight of the Expressionist movement.
Drawing upon Goethe’s nineteenth-century magnum opus, as well as more ancient folklore foretelling of Satan and God’s battle over earth, Murnau’s translation of FAUST showcases the Weimar Republic’s devotion to the macabre, the uncanny, and the grotesque. It’s imagining of Satan, archangels, and demons, and its unprecedented special effects held a marked influence on fantasy films to come.
“Murnau found a way to collapse the years between the era of celluloid and klieg lights, the height of German romanticism, and the first rumors of a learned man who decided to bargain away his soul, finding new ways to tell an old story too meaningful to fade away” (Keith Phipps, AV Club). — ALICIA FLETCHER
Director: F.W. Murnau
Cast: Emil Jannings, Gösta Ekman
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