A German stage actor finds unexpected success and mixed blessings in the popularity of his performance in a Faustian play as the Nazis take power in pre-WWII Germany. As his associates and ... See full summary »
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Klaus Maria Brandauer,
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During WW2 Hungarian resistance hides a married couple from the officials. The woman is sent to act as the wife of one of the resistance members who is also in hiding and pretending to be somebody else. They slowly begin to fall in love.
A German stage actor finds unexpected success and mixed blessings in the popularity of his performance in a Faustian play as the Nazis take power in pre-WWII Germany. As his associates and friends flee or are ground under by the Nazi terror, the popularity of his character supercedes his own existence until he finds that his best performance is keeping up appearances for his Nazi patrons. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
We're all familiar with the archetypal Faustian Bargain, where, in exchange for your soul, the devil grants your wishes. But Why might someone might want to make such a bargain? I mean, there are the common lusts and desires; but, the question still remains: What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Mephisto suggests an answer. And it's not to be found in evil machinations of the Prince of Darkness and his minions, or any such nonsense. It's found in the human psyche.
Brilliantly played by Klaus Brandauer (Out of Africa, White Fang), Hendrik Hoefgen is a man haunted by insecurity. At the core of his being is shame. From the age of twelve, he tells his wife, he's always felt ashamed. So he always wears a mask, because he dare not expose his true identity to anyone, for fear of rejection. To hide himself and to medicate his feelings, he adopts a strategy that is all too common: he overcompensates. He buries himself in his work, identifies himself with his work, and becomes an empty creature playing to the crowds, a social chameleon who's a nobody adroitly playing a role. He constantly works on and perfects his social image, alert to the smallest hint of disapprobation in anyone. In this endeavor, his practiced talent of self deception aids him: He says to himself, after he's sold out to the Nazis, that he's satisfied with his success, because it means that many people love him. He's the perfect actor, even for himself. He's a public persona, nothing more. In the flower of his fame, he's a hollow shell. Mephisto is the most brilliantly produced drama on this subject I've ever seen. It's absolutely enthralling. I highly recommend it as one of the best films ever made, by anyone.
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