Irish Film Institute -Faust (The Lesson of Faust)

Faust (The Lesson of Faust)

Originally planned as a theatre production, avankmajer’s reinvention of the Faust legend combines texts from Christopher Marlowe, Goethe, the German 19th century dramatist Christian Dietrich Grabbe, Gounod, and the traditional Czech puppet play. While the setting is contemporary Prague, the alternation of styles provides a continuing dream story ‘where seeming coincidence is given the form of irreversible fate’. Working with the stage and screen actor Petr âepek, who plays the central role, avankmajer sought a performance with no development, situated on the borders of dream and reality. âepek’s Faust, an ordinary man in a shabby raincoat, lives in a rundown flat in Prague. One day he is handed a leaflet with a map showing the path to a house. Intrigued, he follows a course that leads to encounters with Mephisto, the Jester, the Fair Helen and other characters from the Faust legend. A work of macabre humour and alchemical force, avankmajer’s mix of life-size and miniature puppets, together with the clay heads familiar from his short films, provides an extraordinary take on the nature of identity.
Czech Republic-UK-France-Germany, 1994. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby stereo. 95 mins.

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