Faust: My soul hurts

Another movie at the Melbourne International Film Festival!

So here is my review of Faust. I’ll keep it brief because, as this film ironically demonstrates, life is short and should not be wasted.

This adaptation of Goethe’s Faust takes one of the seminal works of German literature (and literature in general) and subverts it – by which I mean it takes a fascinating story about man and the essence of mor(t)ality, and de-fascinatingerises it into a blubbery two-and-a-half hour snail ride that appears to have been directed by a comatose Fellini impersonator.

Faust depends heavily on its European style (and length) to provide the illusion of substance. This is particularly tragic, because every single moment of the film looks stunning – hats off to cinematographer, Bruno Delbonnel.

Performances vary from good to average, but the material is so inane, contrived and pretentious that you’ll find yourself pretending the cast are awful just so you can give your enemy a face.

Faust was directed by Aleksandr Sokurov, who had already made me slightly grumpy in the past with his gorgeous lump of video-art, Russian Ark.

Highlight: Gangrenous body parts in the first five minutes successfully mortified me.

I recommend checking out the F. W. Murnau version, from 1926. A masterpiece:

James Curnow is an obsessive cinephile and the owner and head editor of CURNBLOG. His work as a film journalist has been published in a range of print and digital publications, including The Guardian, Broadsheet and Screening the Past. James is currently working through a PhD in Film Studies, focused primarily on issues of historical representation in Contemporary Hollywood cinema.

4 thoughts on “Faust: My soul hurts

  1. I liked Russian Ark a lot when I saw it at the cinema, but I did recognise that if I’d approached it in the wrong frame of mind I’d have probably hated it. And I haven’t liked any of the three other Sokurov films I’ve seen since then. Think I’ll not be rushing to see this one.

    • I know what you mean, I loved ‘Russian Ark’ for the first 30 minutes… Then I realised that that was it. This is that, but depressing, morbid and dry.

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