The 1926 silent film FAUST directed by German cinematic auteur F.W Murnau is filled with magic, heart wrenching performances and jaw dropping special effects. It’s undoubtedly an artefact of its own time, but it’s a piece of art that will always have a universal appeal because Murnau somehow figured out how to exploit all the available cinematic techniques to their breaking point. It’s a masterpiece that everyone should give a chance.
Yet, many won’t, because you know, it’s a silent film, and that means it tough to swallow to our modern honed sensibilities.
It’s easy to forget that film hasn’t been around for very long. We’re coming up to a little over 110 years now since a man flickered an image at 24 frames a second and the leaps and bounds that the art form has experienced are mind blowing. Sound, color and the honing of technology and technique (editing, cinematography, and acting) have only gotten better which means the films have gotten better.
Or have they?
Art doesn’t always evolve, but it is always mutating - and that is especially true in a form as young as cinema. The picture gets more detailed, the sound clearer and the construction more complex, but CREATIVITY never expires. It’s not tough to find someone that waxes nostalgically for the grittiness of the seventies, or the excess of the eighties, or even the classicism of the fifties. They will always argue which is best, but none of these are necessarily BETTER then each other, just different ways to deliver a piece of entertainment. Sure, you may not be used to the locked down camera or the wide compositions, but once you get pass those preconceptions you’ll find there’s THOUSANDS of treasures that are out there to be discovered. We may be in a world of naturalism these days, or have an emphasis on the speed of delivery, but if a viewer can calm themselves and take in a story in way
Oh, and go see FAUST.