Friday, February 7, 2014

Faust 2011 ***

Aleksandre Sokurov
This is different from Goethe's drama, though it freely draws on the basic plot, with remnants of the dialog. What is most appealing is the monochrome depiction of some sixteenth or seventeenth century urban Europe, giving a painterly feeling, not too different from Breughal's time and style. It creates nostalgia for primitive times, as they might have been. Narrow labyrinthine streets, bustling ill clad crowds, untouched woods, mean unshaven faces, weird laboratories. The devil is a senile misbegotten clown, (body parts in the wrong places), not the urbane man of the world created by Goethe. Hamlet is clear about everything, except where clarity cannot be. Faust lives in a hazy world, delving, unlike the Dane, without instead of within. Hamlet searches for the well springs of action. Faust only seeks enlightenment, a flash from above. Margaret loses her brother, Laertes a sister and father. A grave digging scene too, invaded by a pack of stray dogs. Hamlet is a genius in life, Faust a scholar. Hamlet consummates his life, Faust is merely admitted by grace. Goethe is no match for the Bard. A dismal, disturbing film.

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