Tuesday, 12 November
MEPHISTO 1981 Directed by István Szabó 144 minutes In Hungarian/German with English subtitles
One the major films of the 1980s was this devastating critique of the role of the artist in society. It is based on a novel by Klaus Mann (son of Thomas) and features a legendary performance by Klaus Maria Brandauer in the lead role. In some ways it is the retelling of the story of Doctor Faustus, a man who makes a pact with the devil in order to achieve his desires. This film takes that message and updates it to Nazi Germany.
Our main character is an actor with a thirst for a successful career. As he climbs the ladder, the Nazis also rise to power in Germany. He is showered with acclaim and many lovers, but there is also a price to be paid for this - wilfully ignoring what is happening all around him. Here lies the root of everything our world has become, and which Hungarian director István Szabó tried to warn us of. Of course the concentration camps were terrible, but what made them possible was a wilful irresponsibility of people, turning their backs on those were being crushed, destroyed and eliminated. And it is this selfish, heartless aspect that is thriving today.
The main character's decent into self-denial is haunting, mesmerizing, confronting. Written in 1936, while Germany was still in the thick of Nazism (almost a decade before it would fall), the story is based on a real-life person; theater director and actor Gustaf Gründgens. Because it was taking pot-shots at such a respected artist, the book was banned in Germany for 20 years. But on the other hand, the movie proved to be the first Hungarian film to win the academy award for best foreign film.
This will be a high-definition screening.
Date & Time:
- 3-5 €