TIFF 2011: FAUST Review

by     Posted 3 years, 97 days ago

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Even if they’ve never read Goethe’s Faust, most people are familiar with the concept of a “Faustian bargain”.  The idea is that you sell your soul to get what you want.  Goethe’s play centers on Doctor Faust who gains infinite knowledge and everything his heart desires in life in exchange for serving Mephistopheles (aka The Devil) in hell for all eternity.  It’s an easy-to-understand premise that lends itself to interesting philosophical discussions and dramatic retellings.  Alexander Sokurov’s new German-language adaptation will be appreciated by about 237 people on the planet.  To enjoy Sokurov’s film, you must inhabit the highly-specific cross-section of Faust scholars, philosophy grad students, and fans of independent Russian cinema.  For everyone else who sees the movie, you will most likely be completely lost as you wade through moribund direction, lifeless surrealism, and characters who speak mostly in philosophical observations on the nature of man.

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