THE LAST FAUST – A Contemporary Tragedy THE LAST FAUST – A Contemporary Tragedy
Human Aspiration, Artificial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Time Travel, Love, Lust, Seduction, Greed and Psychedelia. Available from 2nd December on all major digital platforms including Amazon,... THE LAST FAUST – A Contemporary Tragedy

Human Aspiration, Artificial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Time Travel, Love, Lust, Seduction, Greed and Psychedelia.

Available from 2nd December on all major digital platforms
including Amazon, iTunes and Sky Store

German artist and filmmaker, Philipp Humm, is excited to announce that The Last Faust, starring British screen and theatre icon Steven Berkoff, (Octopussy, The Tourist, Harvey, Shakespeare’s Villains) will be released on VoD on 2nd December. The film will premiere in London on 25th November before its release across leading platforms in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

This 108 minute feature artfilm is the only definitive filmed version of Goethe’s epic theatre play, Faust 1&2, making the release a world first. The film is a vital component of Humm’s Gesamtkunstwerk (Total-Works-of-Art) and offers an unparalleled artistic examination of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s tragic masterpiece. Humm’s Total-Works-of-Art, which has been compared to Matthew Barney’s iconic Cremaster Cycle, is composed of 150 works of art, including bronze sculptures, fine art photographs, oil and watercolour paintings and an illustrated novella. This vast and multifaceted collection of artwork is due to be exhibited in 2020.

The Last Faust transposes the 500-year old allegorical tale of Faust’s pact with the Devil, Mephisto, (Glyn Dilly), to Silicon Valley in the year 2059. Humm’s Faust (Martin Hancock) is a protagonist of the digital epoch. Faust seduces an adolescent Gretchen; a love story which ultimately ends in tragedy. Parallels can be drawn between the hedonistic Faust’s running of Winestone Inc. and Harvey Weinstein and the film-maker explores the psychology of Faust’s encounters from a different perspective. His successor, Dr Goodfellow narrates Faust’s story and  picks up his pact with the Devil, ultimately realising that an unchained pursuit of AI fuelled technological progress leads to the extinction of the very roots of humanity.

The film stars screen and theatre legend Steven Berkoff as tech CEO, Dr. Goodfellow. Martin Hancock (Coronation Street, Holby City) plays Faust and Glyn Dilley is Mephisto (the Devil). This audacious production is the directorial debut of the London-based German artist, Philipp Humm and is co-directed by German director Dominik Wieschermann and co-produced by Daniele Mah. The music is based on Richard Wagner’s piano compositions, supplemented by dance scenes on Yello tunes.

Stuart Jefferies wrote about the film in The Guardian earlier this year, “Humm’s adaptation tackles sexual harassment, artificial intelligence, the troubling ethical ramifications of technological innovation, the stuff of a million comment pieces. Humm’s Faust – no longer a medieval doctor-magician but an AI guru who yearns to emulate God by creating life.”

Philipp Humm has experienced the technological hunger of the Silicon Valley first hand, as he is a former large tech CEO who became an artist. Speaking about the film’s contemporary spin, he says:

“The story of Faust has more significance today than possibly any other time in history. Our voracious thirst for technology means we’re sleepwalking into a dystopian future where artificial intelligence, unfettered by human concepts of empathy, reshapes the planet in its own image. The fact that we’re complicit in our own demise makes this tragedy all the more apposite. Before the Devil steals your soul, he’ll first steal your password.’’

Talking about his motivations to adapt Faust, he says:

“It’s the most important piece of literature in German culture. It is relevant to our society because the pact with the devil is something we are constantly pursuing…Goethe’s story is quite bonkers, complex and multi-layered, so it is an amazing source for inspiration and creativity.”

Creating a feature artfilm is a very unique undertaking. With cinematic wide angle takes, strong art visuals, dance and an almost operatic theatricality, The Last Faust is darkly poetic tightrope of contradictions; at once expansive and claustrophobic, painterly – but with a muscular narrative, tragic – whilst catching us off guard with moments of comedy. The Last Faust is Humm’s bold vision of a moving work of art, created to make accessible one of the great eternal stories to new audiences.

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Jon Dingle Editor

A film journalist, writer and a filmmaker in business for over 20 years. I am passionate about movies, television series, music and online games.