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Faust Film 1: An Opera

Stan Brakhage

USA, 1987
45 minutes, colour, opt
Available formats: 16mm

A collaboration between composer Rick Corrigan and Stan Brakhage, featuring Joel Haertling as Faust, Gretchen Le Maistre as Gretchen, Phillip Hathaway as Faust’s friend and Paul Lundahl as Servant. This is the realisation of a 30 year dream (grant applications and fragments of script from the 1950’s published in Brakhage’s Metaphors on Vision), a wish of the young film-maker to film a ‘modern’ Faust (quite opposite of the traditional Fausts) which finally came to a fulfilment as unpredictable as say three decades of living experience.
‘Like earlier artists who have treated the Faust legend… he uses it to explore the nature of obsession. But reversing the familiar idea of Faust as an old man yearning to be young, Brakhage makes him a world-weary young man who longs to be old … What makes the film striking is its rich imagery, superbly photographed in dark hued tones, and its insistent visual rhythms. Brakhage is close to his peak as a bard of the camera and the editing table.’ – David Sterritt.