fbpx

April 8—15, 2024

Warsaw

Małe Instrumenty | Faust


The last film by F.W. Murnau, the creator of the iconic Nosferatu, prior to his Hollywood venture. For decades, Faust was overshadowed by another silent superproduction from the UFA studio, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, partly due to the limited access to the best German version of this lavish adaptation of Goethe’s arch-drama. The globally circulating “export” version, composed of mediocre shots, failed to convey the grand vision, intense imagery, and flawlessly recreated medieval atmosphere that established Faust as an immortal classic of folk horror cinema. Timeless Film Festival Warsaw audiences will have the privilege of witnessing a digitally restored version of the landmark 1999 restoration, breathing new life into Murnau’s previously underrated masterpiece.

The gothic clash between Mephisto and Faust will find an unconventional musical reflection through the creative prowess of the Wroclaw-based ensemble Małe Instrumenty. Paweł Romańczuk, the group’s founder says that “the music for Faust will be an opportunity to create an illustration that is abstract and dark, but which will be broken by the grotesque of microtonal tensions and dramas.”

This silent adaptation of Faust deviates significantly from clichéd readings encountered in school adaptations. Instead, it stands as a high-budget production by a director reaching the zenith of his talents. Murnau, on the brink of directing Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, one of the most acclaimed films of all time in the United States the following year, collaborated once again with Emil Jannings, famed for his role as the hotel doorman in The Last Laugh (also featured in the festival program). Jannings, portraying Mephisto with diabolical verve, later signed a pact with the devil himself, becoming one of the stars of Nazi cinema just a few years later. Faust weaves together grand set pieces and intimate romance, serving as the director’s exploration into the German soul by juxtaposing the pursuit of beauty with the awakening of demons.

Sebastian Smoliński

Małe Instrumenty, founded in 2006 by Paweł Romańczuk, the Wroclaw-based art group Małe Instrumenty (lit. small instruments) focuses on sound exploration with unconventional musical instruments. Leveraging unique sounds, they release music on CDs, record for film and theater, using it to complement text and movement. Their extensive collection of rare instruments enables a diverse orchestral spectrum, incorporating sound toys, educational instruments, playing objects, mechanisms, exotic ethnic instruments, and hand-built sound sources. Since their first concert in 2007 at the New Horizons Festival (the group presented its own versions of film music by Julian Józef Antonisz), Małe Instrumenty has participated in numerous music, film, and theater festivals across Europe.

Concert partner

DATE

April 13, 2024

TIME

4:00 PM

VENUE

POLIN Museum

ENGLISH TITLE

Faust

ORIGINAL TITLE

Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage

LANGUAGE

intertitles in German

SUBTITLES

Polish, English

SECTION

DIRECTOR

DURATION

107 min

YEAR

1926

COUNTRY

RIGHTS

Murnau Stiftung

COPY / EVENT TYPE

PRODUCER

Erich Pommer

PRODUCTION

UFA

CAST

Gösta Ekman (Faust), Emil Jannings (Mefisto), Camilla Horn (Gretchen), Frida Richard (Gretchen’s mother), William Dieterle (Valentin, Gretchen’s brother)

SCREENPLAY

Hans Kyser, Gerhart Hauptmann (based on a play by Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Carl Hoffmann (black&white)

EDITING

Elfi Böttrich

COSTUME DESIGN

Georges Annenkov, Robert Herlth, Walter Röhrig

ART DIRECTION

Robert Herlth, Walter Röhrig

DECADE

EDITION