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Faustbook (2006)

Video  -  Animation | Horror  -  25 April 2006 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 50 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

Faustbook is my first feature film which spanned over a 5 year shooting time. The film began with two like minded individuals who shared a passion for a wide range of esoteric subjects, ... See full summary »

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Title: Faustbook (Video 2006)

Faustbook (Video 2006) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jacob Faust ...
...
Lance Meeker ...
Bandar von Baron
Claudia Voss ...
Tyler Phillips ...
Demon Pimp
Rick Faust ...
Older Faust
Amy Faust ...
Good / Bad Angel
Jeffrey Leiser ...
Christopher Wagner
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Priestess Miriam ...
Priestess Miriam
Malcolm Vader ...
Haitian Magician
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Storyline

Faustbook is my first feature film which spanned over a 5 year shooting time. The film began with two like minded individuals who shared a passion for a wide range of esoteric subjects, alternative history and the Holy Bible. The intent was to make a completely improvised film based on a purely intuitive process. We set off on this journey with many things in mind but no set plans. Subconsciously, we would construct the film until it revealed it's true identity. Jacob and I had always joked about his last name and it's significance but slowly over time it became clear that this film was about the Faust legend. Jake took over my old job funeral directing and slowly learned of the secret world of caring for the deceased. In the end I was left with a very creative, funny, dark piece of work. This is a living memorial to a friend and an artist who worked at the highest degree, sometimes that is too much to keep you contained within this temporal world. To anyone who watches this film I ... Written by Eric Leiser

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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A troubled mortician embarks on an odyssey for truth about life and death.

Genres:

Animation | Horror

Certificate:

R
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Release Date:

25 April 2006 (USA)  »

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Budget:

$75,000 (estimated)
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A year before Katrina struck New Orleans, Jacob, Eric and Jeffrey drove 26 hours straight from San Diego, California to New Orleans, Louisiana to shoot some of the concluding scenes of the film. They filmed at the St. Louis Cemetary #1, the Voodoo Spiritual Temple, and along the Mississippi River. See more »

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User Reviews

A film about death by a dead man
30 December 2013 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

It's impossible to review this film without referencing the real life & death of writer/actor Jacob Faust. I knew nothing about him until I bought this DVD on a whim. But 10 minutes on google uncovered a pretty sickening story. If you want to research it yourself, here's a page with a lot of links: lostokyo.com/?p=197

The facts:

25-year-old Jacob Faust was shot to death by the San Diego police on April 4, 2005 after a routine traffic stop. The police said he reached for what looked like a gun, but other witnesses say it was a tape recorder, a toy or possibly nothing at all. We may never know because, after a 4-year civil suit, his family decided to settle out of court for $325,000 with the stipulation, I'm sure, of a gag order. With all that in mind, I watched this film as if it were a piece of evidence, or at least something to shed light on whether Jacob Faust deserved to die.

The film:

Although Jacob plays himself in the movie, a 20-something loner who stumbles through life brazenly challenging concepts of theology, death and necromancy, and although the DVD description advertises "an uncanny parallel" to the actor's real life passing, I didn't find much that related to Jacob Faust's actual demise. But I did learn that Jacob was the kind of person who questions authority (jokingly arguing with the devil... or perhaps likewise arguing with armed officers?), and in that sense there is perhaps a parallel.

Overall this film is not for the casual film-goer, but if, like me, you happen to find yourself obsessively curious about the life and death of Jacob Faust, wondering if he had some premonition of his own doom at the hands of the powers that be, then you owe it to yourself (if not the dead guy) to give this a whirl.

It's a cinema experience that is every bit as confounding, intriguing, subjective and ultimately frustrating as Jacob's real life. This film will give you no clear answers, only fragments of deep thoughts which ultimately lead to more questions. Or for those of you who lose patience, it may lead you to the trash can. One way or the other, something about the experience is oddly appropriate.

"Faustbook" is a modern adaptation of the 16th century "Faustbuch" and the 1604 Marlowe version "Dr. Faustus", perhaps the earliest recorded tale about a man who sells his soul to the devil. While "Faustbook" is set in modern times (around the year 2001), the narration and dialogue are mostly in the lyrical style of Marlowe. But it's spoken in Jacob's distinct, tongue-in-cheek, semi-mocking tone of voice which may seem more reminiscent of the ramblings of beatnik poets in Seattle coffee houses. Don't let this scare you off; if you pay attention to his words, there's actually a lot of meaning, wit and offhand humor.

Watching this film is a struggle. Bombarded with visuals that are fragmented, disorienting and seemingly random, you'll be tempted to tune out, just as if you were tuning out the annoying psychobabble you'd overhear at that Seattle coffee house. This film will give even the most patient Godard fan a run for his money. It doesn't help either that this film was made on a very low budget. Generally speaking, low budget + artistic expression = pretentious drivel. But 2 things kept it from falling into that pile, at least for me. 1) the playful, humorous presentation which immediately offsets any threat of pretentiousness, and 2) the excellent piano & accordion music.

The music reminded me of the Yann Tiersen soundtrack to "Amélie", except that this had a darker edge. More dissonance, minor keys and diminished chords gave this "bouncy" soundtrack a decidedly somber air. When you realize that the piano & accordion music was composed & recorded by Jacob Faust himself, it becomes a grand experience.

Oh something else I really liked was the premise of Faust working as a funeral director, loving his job (which apparently Jacob did in real life) and finding beauty in such morbid things that generally spook the rest of us. Isn't that the perfect premise for the story of Faust: a man who is driven by a curious appreciation of the morbid arts?

Cool animations (mostly at the beginning) and playful use of masks & puppets (perhaps a nod toward Jan Svankmajer's excellent "Lesson Faust" 1994) also kept things interesting.

But around midway I completely lost the point of the film. This could be because that's where Jacob supposedly quit the production and stopped writing. Or who knows, maybe it's because my puny mortal brain had absorbed all it could. But from my point of view, it seemed like the novel spin on the Faust tale ran out of ideas and fell back to a simple retelling of the hackneyed old good vs evil sermon. For the last half hour, the Jacob Faust character, who had initially been a sassy, rebellious, wisecracking hero, instead seemed to sleepwalk through the rest of the story with no real identity.

The ending was confusing to me to me, but I guess so is Jacob's unsolved fate in real life. No tidy endings with red ribbons here. Like I said earlier, "Faustbook" may prove to be as intriguing, confounding and frustrating as reality. But for what it's worth, this is a rare opportunity to get into the mind of a person who, as far as I can tell, deserves to be called a tragic genius who was cut down way too early in life.


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