Previously at the ICA - Films

Faust, Dir: Alexander Sokurov, 2011


29 May 201231 May 2012

For the final chapter in his tetralogy on the nature of power, visionary Russian auteur Alexander Sokurov shifts away from the motif of twentieth-century leadership that saw him make cinematic subjects of Hitler, Lenin, and Hirohito, and into fictional, allegorical territory with an enigmatic interpretation of Goethe’s play.

The skeleton of the German legend remains: the eponymous protagonist is a scholar frustrated by the limits of human understanding, leading him to strike a bargain for his soul with the Devil. But this version is an idiosyncratic one, largely interested more in the moral concepts thrown up by the telling than in the tale itself. Faust’s prolix, soul-searching dialogue with Mephistopheles—here an obnoxious moneylender—takes them on a meandering journey through a dingy medieval milieu peppered with fantastical, carnivalesque details, while the cinematography oscillates between wooziness and arresting relief.

As the conclusion to Sokurov’s four-part treatise, Faust is an interesting philosophical companion to the first three films and their respective historical figures; on its own, it’s a dense but fascinating cinematic experience, to which one must simply surrender.

Winner of Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival
“There are films that change you forever and this is one of them.”
 Darren Aronofsky, head of Jury at Venice.

Dir: Alexander Sokurov. 2011, Russia, German with English subtitles, 140 mins.
Cast: Johannes Zeiler, Anton Adasinsky, Isolda Dychauk.


E.g., 22-09-2018
E.g., 22-09-2018