Detroit Film Theatre


Saturday, July 09, 2011

4:00 PM

(Germany/1926—directed by F.W. Murnau)
This visually brilliant expressionist fantasy is based on Goethe’s version of the story of a man who exchanges his soul for worldly pleasures. The opening sequence alone, in which Mephisto (Emil Jannings of The Blue Angel) makes his deal with Faust (Gösta Ekman) and then sweeps him away on his satanic coattails, is enough to provide nightmares for months. Murnau’s visual scheme is completely at the service of its material, and the phenomenal power of this imagery is a textbook example of the unparalleled stylistic heights reached during the golden age of German cinema in the 1920s. A melodramatic subplot in the center of Faust is sometimes considered the film’s only flaw, but compared to its mammoth achievements, that’s a small price to pay. Silent, English intertitles. (116 min.)

"A masterpiece. It inspires with its wealth of imagination, its astounding camera feats and its admirable portrayals." – The New York Times