Faust is related to the German legend in which a man sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge. This legend was put pen to paper times without numbers before Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who was a German writer, artist and politician. There are more than one Faust today but people are more familiar with Goethe’s Faust than other versions. Also Christopher Marlowe, who was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era, wrote “Faust” and it was more popular than other versions. However, while Marlowe’s Faust asks personal desires from the devil, Goethe’s Faust is a character asking good wishes for all mankind. It is known that Goethe’s Faust identifies with Goethe’s own character.
In order to acquire an eternal wisdom, Faust bargains with the devil whose name is Mephistophilis. If Faust satisfies, he will give his soul the devil betting with God. Goethe’s Faust also gives place to love. Faust, falling in love with Margaret, who is innocent and pure, wants to get her with the help of Mephistophilis, so Faust and Margaret collaborate against Margaret’s mother but they have no bad intention. Mephistophilis kills her mother but Margaret is accused. She runs away with Faust and then she gets pregnant and kills her baby like a chicken with its head cut off. It is demanded Margaret’s death penalty. Faust, selling his soul for sagacity, has lost his wisdom during this period and he decides to break the agreement with the devil. This is the first part of Goethe’s Faust. The second part continues with how Faust retakes wisdom. What cultural values depend on and whether the absolute objectivity is available or not has been probed with a fine-tooth comb, in this part.
There are also movie versions of Faust. The first was reflected to the movie screen by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, who was one of the most influential German film directors of the silent era and a prominent figure in the expressionist movement in German cinema during the 1920s, in 1926. This silent Faust remained faithful to the true story. If you watch this movie, you will witness the brilliant use of lights and shadows. When the light stands for loving-kindness, the shadow represents wickedness. This differentiation drifts us to Murnau’s world. His film featured special effects that were remarkable for that time and many of these shots are still impressive today.
There are four different movie versions of Faust. The second “Doctor Faustus” is a 1967 English film directed by Richard Burton and the third Faust is directed by Jan Svankmajer in 1994. Finally the last is a 2011 Russian film directed by Alexander Sokurov. It is a free interpretation of the original Faust and its literary adaptions by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The film won the “Golden Lion” at he 68th Venice International Film Festival. Faust was honoured with the festival’s highest prize for the best film. The jury president was the American filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, who said when he presented the winner; “There are some films that make you cry, there are some films that make you laugh, there are some films that change you forever after you see them; and this is one of them.”
The movie premiered on 8 September 2011 in competition at the 68th Venice International Film Festival. 3 days later it was screened in the Masters section of the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. Johannes Zeiler brings to life the character of Faust. Mephistophilis is Anton Adasinsky and Margarete (Gretchen) is Isolda Dychauk.