Best film at Venice film festival 2011: Sokurov’s Faust, Russian adaptation of German classic

Article published on Sept. 13, 2011
Article published on Sept. 13, 2011

Courting controversy – a good tactic? The mixed but impassioned reviews surrounding avant-garde director Alexander Sokurov’s adaption of Goethe’s Faust (2011) brought him the attention of the 68th Venice film festival jury – and ultimately bagged him the festival’s coveted Golden Lion on 10 September. Something of a ‘marmite’ director, Sokurov has long been noted for his dense, challenging productions, achieving international acclaim with his 2002 film Russian Ark, made using just one long shot. Sokurov’s recent films have been increasingly fascinated by figures of power (Hitler and Lenin to name but two) – did he turn to the story of a man selling his soul for power in an attempt to critique a country whose elite is blatently driven by its desire for power and money?