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 »
A French boarding school run by priests seems to be a haven from World War II until a new student arrives. He becomes the roommate of top student in his class. Rivals at first, the roommates form a bond and share a secret.
The location: Nazi occupied Rome. As Rome is classified an open city, most Romans can wander the streets without fear of the city being bombed or them being killed in the process. But life ... See full summary »
Slovakia during WW2. Tono lives a poor life, but the authorities offer him to take over the Jewish widow Lautman's little shop for sewing material. She is old and confused and thinks that ... See full summary »
Fugui and Jiazhen endure tumultuous events in China as their personal fortunes move from wealthy landownership to peasantry. Addicted to gambling, Fugui loses everything. In the years that ... See full summary »
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>
Before "The Truman Show", "Mephisto" asks its audience, what is good entertainment?
Another disturbing film about the complicity of ordinary people in fascism, which explores similar territory to "Cabaret", "The Conformist", "The Leopard" and "The Remains of the Day". It argues that fascism demonstrates how difficult it is to separate one's public and private roles and beliefs from politics. The title character, an actor, starts to realise how his "make believe" public role has very real, tragic consequences. In this sense, the film has merit beyond its superb acting and other technical features: it subverts the liberal pieties of Hollywood drama which resolve all conflict within the confines of the existing social system. It undercuts the banality of much film criticism which says it is "just entertainment" with "no subtext"- as if produced in a social/historical vacuum with no point of view. In short, the film argues that artists, like everyone else, have to take some responsibility and assume a critical role or risk being haunted, like Mephisto, by the awareness that they have become pawns in a dangerous game.
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