Tuesday, 5/15/2018

A feast for the eyes, a FAUST for the ears

Bernd Schultheis' score gives F. W. Murnau's silent film FAUST (1926) a contemporary acoustic dimension.

F. W. Murnau's silent film FAUST is set to music

It's like a pact with the devil: In Munich, there's no avoiding the tormented hero of Goethe's most famous drama, now that the Munich Faust Festival, involving more than 200 partners, is in full swing.

Naturally, FILMFEST MÜNCHEN offers its own perspective on this. The name of Goethe's protagonist is used for a play on words in FAUST AUFS AUGE (ROCKY AND FRIENDS), to reference the classic boxing movies shown in the Open Air film series in the Gasteig courtyard. And on June 27 at 8 p.m. — the evening before the official opening — in cooperation with MünchenMusik, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's silent-film classic FAUST is given a contemporary acoustic dimension.

In 1926, Murnau took the Faust legend and interwove elements of the literary classics by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Christopher Marlowe to create an Expressionist masterpiece. Outstanding performers such as Camilla Horn as Gretchen, Emil Jannings as Mephisto, and Gösta Ekman as Faust are caught up in a gamble for eternal youth, Lucifer's nihilistic attempt at world domination, and desperate love and seduction.

In 1999, composer Bernd Schultheis wanted to do more than just add sound; he aimed to add a new acoustic dimension to the silent-film classic. He wanted to invade the gaps between the individual images with great precision — not illustrating the film in an ostentatious way, but musically tracing the motions of a manic search. To accompany the showing on the big screen, the Munich Symphony Orchestra, directed by Markus Huber, will interpret this very present-day contribution to a story of love, sensuality, and the pitfalls of morality. "The film's musical accompaniment shall tell of the restless motion, the searching of a man driven insane," says Shultheis.

Tickets are available from MünchenMusik and MünchenTicket. The Faust Festival website offers current information about the event.