We will examine only a small but fascinating sample of the films
and music based on the Faust legend. Follow the directions below
in your progress through this unit.
Lesen Sie die Wikis!
The Czech Republic in the Twentieth Century
Germany between the World Wars
Article Reviews from Articles Collection
I. Jan Svankmajer: Faust
(1995, 97 minutes)
Discuss the ideas and images presented in Jan
Svankmajer's masterpiece. This is not a film review; you are not
deciding whether or not you like the film or would recommend it
to the general viewer. Bring to this work of art the same level
of critical skills you are bringing to your printed texts. Therefore,
as with our other texts, we will stop and discuss it AS
WE WATCH IT in order to better find our way together through
1. Read the Wikis presenting background information
on Svankmajer and the Czech Republic to prepare you for the viewing.
2. Viewing the film
the first 10 - 15 minutes. Don't watch any further!
Write down as many details
as you can remember – who, what, where, when, how? Characters,
angles, colors, techniques? How does the film feel so far? Given
that it's called "Faust,"can you identify any key characters?
Describe Faust.. How does he compare, socially, intellectually,
physically, verbally, with the Fausts you have met thus far? What
do you think about that? What do you think is going to happen? (If
you're watching with other people, what do they think? What details
have they noticed?)
Discussion Board Posting 10.
Share your first impressions in the discussion group.
2. Repeat this process two more times.
Stop after 15 or 20 minutes and take notes again. Compare your notes
with details you noticed earlier. If there is a Faust, is there
a Mephistopheles? Is there a God? What details do you notice? How
do you interpret these images? How is this like or unlike previous
versions you’ve read? Are there parallels with other characters
you have met in other versions of Faust? If so, with which ones?
Save these comments to incorporate with your
summary comments. Then go on and finish watching the film.
3. Discussion Board Posting 11
Place the film into an historical, social and
philosphical context. How does this Faust compare to other
interpretations? Write your summary comments on the film and post
to the discussion group.
II. Friedrich Murnau: Faust (1926,
Use the same process to view Murnau's Faust.
However, post to the discussion group once.
1. Consult the background on the class Wikis.
2. View the film, stopping to take notes at intervals,
but especially after the first 10 or 15 minutes.
Consider the same questions as you have for Svankmajer as you go
3. Discussion Board Posting 12
Write your summary comments and post to the discussion
III. Two American Fausts
Two recent Fausts from the late twentieth century,
one a film and the other a rock opera, show us yet more interpretations
and possibilities of the theme.
A. Ken Russell: Altered States
(1980, 102 minutes)
1. Watch the Ken Russell film,
stopping after the first 20 minutes or so to reflect and take notes
on what you’ve seen so far, and then watching through to the
2. Summarize your ideas about this film. Who
is Faust? Are there parallels with other characters in other versions?
If so, with whom? Is Faust good or evil, saved or damned? What does
this mean in the context of this film? What are the differences
and similarites with other versions and how do you interpret them?
Place the film into a social, theological, philosphical and historical
B. Randy Newman: Randy Newman's Faust
(1995, 59 minutes)
3. Listen to Randy Newman's Faust
Again, how does this Faust compare to other versions?
Think about the questions above and write your thoughts.
here for a review of a live performance of Randy Newman's Faust.
4. Finally consider these two American Fausts
together. What similarities do they share and what are the differences
between them? Is there anything about them you would consider uniquely
American? If so, what, and why?
5. Discussion Board Posting 13.
Summarize your above thoughts on these two works
into an essay and post it on the discussion board. You may treat
each work separately or write about both together.
When you have completed these assignments, continue
the course with Unit 4.