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Mephisto (1981)

Cast: Klaus Maria Brandauer, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Krystyna Janda, more...
Director: István Szabó, István Szabó
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Anchor Bay
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Politics and Social Issues, Germany
Running Time: 144 min.
Languages: German
Subtitles: English
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Based on Klaus Mann's novel, Mephisto details the rise of a Faustian character who figuratively sells his soul in exchange for greatness. Hendrik Hofgen (Klaus Maria Brandauer, offering an electric performance) is the star of a state-funded theater department who tires of his job. Like his friends, he pays lip service to socialist ideals fashionable for artists of his time -- that is, until the Nazis rise to power. He then sees an opportunity to achieve his objective of fame: he will perform propaganda plays and thereby use the Nazis as a vehicle to spread his name across the country -- only too late does he realize his mistake. This well-adapted version of the book featured the first teaming of Brandauer with director Istvan Szabo; they would later reunite to make Colonel Redl and Hanussen. Brandauer first gained attention in the U.S. after the film's release and would be cast as the villain in Never Say Never Again as a result. ~ Jeremy Beday, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Brandauer is a standout in this Weimar biopic by CHutchings June 4, 2005 - 12:09 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
In a time of easy black/white polarities, it was refreshing to see the world of moral grey tones plumbed with style and wit. Lovely locations and compelling narrative mesh with great acting from the leads. While not as affecting or stylized as the similar,The Damned, this was a grand look behind the enablers of history and the way they seduce first themselves and then others.

An example of Sartre's bad faith/self-deception by dante2023 January 17, 2004 - 8:03 PM PST
1 out of 4 members found this review helpful
The protagonist in the beginning wants freedom and despises the Nazi ideology. But later on he contradicts himself by supporting the Nazi regime in order to become Germany's top leading actor--he sells out. His excuse and cop out in the end is that he is only an actor. A complete contradiction to his early view point, existentialism, of freedom and responsibility--to have the freedom to create. But in the end he is just a puppet; thus, what Jean-Paul Sartre would call "Bad Faith" or in a better translation, "Self-Deception".

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.57)
47 Votes
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