Sokurov completes power series with "Faust" film

Thu Sep 8, 2011 11:03am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

VENICE, Italy (Reuters) - Acclaimed Russian director Alexander Sokurov returns to the theme of corrupting power in his new film "Faust," the fourth and final part of a series on the topic but the first to depict a fictional character.

The first three movies in the tetralogy were "Moloch" (1999) about Adolf Hitler, "Taurus" (2000) about Vladimir Lenin and "The Sun" (2005) about Emperor Hirohito.

Faust, which has its world premiere at the Venice film festival on Thursday, is loosely based on German writer Goethe's take on the myth about a man who sells his soul to the devil.

It is one of 23 movies in the main competition lineup, and eligible for prizes including the coveted Golden Lion for best film at the closing ceremony on Saturday.

In Sokurov's Faust, the Mephistopheles character is convincingly portrayed by Anton Adasinsky as a creepy, old, grotesque moneylender who struggles to maintain his grip on Faust.

"The tyrants in the previous films of the tetralogy saw themselves as God's representatives on Earth, but they made an unpleasant discovery: they are only human," read a commentary in production notes for the movie handed to journalists.

"In Faust, the reverse is the case: a man is turned into an idol before our very eyes. Faust's triumphal march around the world is only beginning as the film closes.

"He walks off in order to become a tyrant, a political leader, an oligarch ... Is it a coincidence that the film maker interrupts this journey?"   Continued...

<p>Director Alexander Sokurov (R) poses with actor Johannes Zeiler during a photocall for their film "Faust" at the 68th Venice Film Festival September 8, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard</p>