Sokurov’s Faust is not a film adaptation of Goethe’s tragedy in the usual sense, but a reading of what remains between the lines. What is the colour of a world that gives rise to colossal ideas? What does it smell like? It is stuffy in Faust’s world: earthshaking plans are born in the cramped space where he scurries about. He is a thinker, a mouthpiece for ideas, a transmitter of words, a schemer, a daydreamer. An anonymous man driven by simple instincts: hunger, greed, lust. An unhappy, hounded creature that issues a challenge to Goethe’s Faust. Why stay in the moment if one can go further? Further and further, pressing forward – not noticing that time stands still. And you shall pass, too. –Venice Film Festival
One of the most important directors in both Russian and world cinema, Alexander Sokurov is considered by many to be the spiritual heir of the great Andrei Tarkovsky. Sokurov — who has enjoyed a long creative relationship with Tarkovsky — has discounted such comparisons, but certain similarities between their works remain indelible: a predilection towards very long takes, natural performances by their actors, and an almost otherworldly use of natural sounds and music. And, perhaps most important, both directors are concerned with the essential questions of human existence and the state of the human spirit.
Sokurov was the son of a World War II veteran. His family moved around a good deal while Sokurov was growing up, and after finishing high school, he went to Gorki, Russia’s third largest city. There, he attended Gorki University and began to work as an assistant television director when he was 19. He continued to direct television programs for the Gorki station until 1975, and… read more
A difficult movie to process, which is why (I suspect) most positive reviews dwell on the form—the deftly cluttered direction and lush, sulfuric atmosphere—rather than on any coherent message that emerges thereof. It's clearly the work of a master, but whether the master has something valuable to say is up for debate. All an agnostic can guarantee are the sensations—and in this case, they're enough. 4 stars.
Sokurov finishes his tetralogy of power with an adaptation of Goethe’s Faust.
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Yves Montand plays the devil in a 1950s-made, 1920s-set version of Faust with beautiful sets worth going to hell for.
“We sort of do the lineup by the seat of our pants.”
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This year’s edition features the premieres of Eastwood’s J. Edgar and Soderbergh’s Haywire.
Most critics will have been pleased to see Faust win the Golden Lion. But not all of them.
Silver Lion for Cai Shangjun (People Mountain People Sea). Acting awards for Michael Fassbender and Deanie Ip.