Film dialogues: Jan Švankmajer’s Faust


Written by Jan Svankmajer (from Marlowe, Grabbe and Goethe). Read by Andrew Sachs.

Scene 1: An actor’s dressing room. Seated in front of a mirror, wearing a false beard, costume and make-up, protagonist reads from a script.

Faust: Alas, philosophy I have explored,
as well as medicine and law;
add to these, regrettably,
my studies in theology.
Yet here I sit, a foolish bore,
no wiser than I was before.
No dog can live like this;
knowledge gained is far from bliss.
So I resolve my soul to free
through blackest magic and dark alchemy.

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Film review: Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)

Clouds of Sils Maria

The first thing you notice about Clouds of Sils Maria is that it looks different. There’s a sense of urgency here that’s not even close to being justified by the narrative – well, in the sense that there is a narrative; this being one of those rare, refreshing films for which it can be said, for decent stretches of its running time, “nothing happens” – and it’s an urgency that can be located most obviously in its transitions and in its occasional bouts of double exposure.

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