Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage [Faust] (1926)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage</strong> [<strong class="MovieTitle">Faust</strong>] (1926)

(Hoopla Streaming, October 2018) Bringing an imaginative version of the biblical story to the big screen, F.M. Murnau’s Faust remains remarkable today for its density of special effects and for an all-out approach to fantasy filmmaking. As a result, there’s quite a lot to see here (do try to watch as high-quality a copy as you can find), which is helped along by the reasonable running time of the film (a mere 106 minutes, when some contemporaries ran almost to three hours). The story is a remix of several versions of the Faust story, meaning that it’s familiar and yet a good clothesline on which to hang fantastic set pieces. A veteran Murnau being at the helm (this being his last German film before moving to Hollywood and working on Sunrise), there is an undeniable artistic intent here, which adds quite a bit to the film. It may not be to everyone’s taste (and it does take a while to get started) and like most silent movies it does require active viewing in order to make the most out of it, but Faust is a solid example of fantasy filmmaking, influential and still worth a look today.

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