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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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>
Klaus Maria Brandauer, the celebrated German stage actor, is not really a big fan of cinema. Largely unknown to cinematic audiences, he made a big splash with his debut Mephisto.
Mephisto is the ancient legend of the man who sells his soul to the devil in return for worldly gains - as told by Faust. Klaus plays a Hamburg stage actor famous for his portrayal of Mephisto on stage. Flirting with socialism, he embraces the leadership of the Nazi party in order to move to Berlin and rise in the theatre hierarchy. He does rise and continues to ingratiate himself with the Nazi Generals and Prime Minister and rises to the very top where his full oratorical abilities can be displayed. He also shows a complete lack of self respect or conviction for anything but his personal worldly success and power - which he does use on occasion to save less favoured colleagues.
Klaus has given a remarkable performance in this film - all physicality. Throughout much of the movie he is poker faced and relies on his hands and his body to express himself fully. Its a very unique, one-of-a-kind performance that makes this film so watchable. The narrative itself is chopped and may sub-plots are introduced then cut short.
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