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8.6
/10
1,713 Ratings

Faust

Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage

Directed by F.W. Murnau
Germany, 1926
Fantasy, Horror, Drama

Synopsis

Faust, a learned and prayerful alchemist who is struggling with his faith amidst a devastating plague, is offered the power to cure and the gift of youth…in exchange for his soul. An adaptation of Goethe’s iconic eponymous novel.

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Faust Directed by F.W. Murnau
Though Murnau was hardly the first director to realize the potential of cinema, he was one of the first filmmakers to see the format completely outside its relationship to previous art forms. The director uses the same kind of Expressionist sets that defined German cinema of the 1920s, but where earlier films deliberately called attention to Expressionism’s two-dimensional artificiality as reflections of characters’ tormented psyches, Faust emphasizes three-dimensional depth.
November 16, 2015
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It’s an astonishing directorial feat: a silent version of the central work of German literature. Coming in at under two hours, it’s also a severe condensation of the plot of Goethe’s poem. It also features drastic, dramatic transformations of the material, as if using the story as a basis for a mere screenplay. Yet Murnau is after something altogether different and more daring: a demonstration of the power of cinema to deliver visual poetry on the order of Goethe’s language.
June 24, 2014
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The imagery in the first half of the film is stunning: skeleton horsemen hovering in the mist, Mephisto spreading his wings over an entire village, an acrobat dying of plague mid-act, Faust’s Moses-esque haircut and facial hair. But it is not until the second half of the film, when Faust’s insatiable thirst for pleasure leads him to try to corrupt an innocent peasant girl (a plot lifted from Goethe’s version) that the film finds its tragic focus.
August 16, 2013
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