Director Aleksandr Sokurov, the only Russian participant at the 68th Venice Film Festival’s battle for the Golden Lions has premiered his Faust at the Lido on Thursday.
It is the final part of the director’s tetralogy, which was devised by the director in the mid-1980s and looks at dictatorship and the obsession with power. The other three parts of the project are the award-winning Molokh (1999), which is dedicated to Hitler, Taurus (2001) to Lenin, and The Sun (2005) to the Japanese Emperor Hirohito.
Faust is the next and the last in this line. Presenting his latest film, the director told journalists that he sees Goethe and Faust as a “fundamental phenomenon, a basis for world culture of the 19th century.” Sokurov filmed his movie in German. It is not a film adaptation of Goethe’s tragedy, but a rethought interpretation of what remains between the lines.
The movie-making required lots of historical research, and the director explained that it was necessary to choose the right sites that would resemble the 19th-century German cities.
“To me Faust is alive and human, not mythological. His fate has everything that can happen to a living man,” Sokurov said. He added that he has been searching for the right person for Faust’s role all around Germany, Austria, Scandinavia and Iceland. His choice finally fell on German actor Johannes Zeiler. The actor himself considered his role in Sokurov’s film to be the peak of his career on screen. Mephistopheles is portrayed by Anton Adasinsky.
Press and critics received the film with enthusiasm. Let’s wait and see if the jury’s view of this work will also be enthusiastic. The winners of the 68th Venice Film Festival will be announced on September 10.