News - The Last Faust

Steven Berkoff will star in The Last Faust, Goethe’s epic play re-imagined for the big screen by pop-expressionist artist, Philipp Humm...

Press Release

Prodigal scientist and technology entrepreneur, Dr Faust, seeks to emulate God’s ability to create life. He sells his soul to the devil in order to realise his greatest ambition - to create the world’s first super-human. However, in the process, he unleashes a much darker force on to the world.

Based on the tragic play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Last Faust is told from the perspective of Faust’s future successor Dr Goodfellow, (Steven Berkoff). Faust’s pact with the devil has unleashed technology that threatens mankind and Dr Goodfellow, as the current CEO of the world’s biggest Tech company, Winestone Inc., races against a ticking clock to document what may be humanity’s last remaining hours.

The Last Faust is a multi-faceted exploration of what it is to be human, complex and rich in contemporary references. Besides the pact with Mephisto, the film tells of Faust's tragic love story with 16 year old Gretchen and his blind passion for the mythological goddess, Helena. As well as travelling through real and mythological worlds, The Last Faust also transcends time, as Dr Faust punctuates key German historical moments such as the advent of money printing, the Greek war, and the beginnings of the cynical materialism of the modern day Church.

The Last Faust film will be a world first. Due to its near 14 hour performance time, Faust parts 1 and 2 have never been filmed together, nor have they been presented on stage more than three times since 1830. Philipp Humm has made it his mission to make this epic German classic digestible for modern cinema goers, and has successfully condensed both parts into two unique yet intertwined stories, with a running time of under two hours.

Humm’s inspiration to make Faust into a film came to him after seeing an exhibition of Salvador Dali’s water colour illustration of Dante's Divine Comedy in 2016. He says, “I felt like doing something similar with a piece of German theatre that really matters to me.” Humm didn't become acquainted with Goethe's Faust until he was older and wanted to explore more of his German roots, but he felt an instant connection with the text when he realised that he could relate Goethe's drama strongly to our modern tech society and the most fundamental existential questions of humanity.

Dr Goodfellow, whose narratorial performance forms the backbone of the feature film, is loosely modelled around the many outstanding Silicon Valley leaders Philipp Humm met in his former Tech career. Goodfellow, successor of Faust and CEO of Winestone Inc., is a genius scientist in blind pursuit of technological progress. Even when he is on his deathbed, Goodfellow compares himself to Euphorion, a half-God, who died out of a youthful ambition, instead of a man who is responsible for mass destruction of the human race.

Humm needed an actor with a wealth of experience to narrate the complex intricacies of Faust. Berkoff, being a master of both theatre and cinema, seemed the perfect fit for this role. His natural ability to bring stories alive in a poetic, physical and heightened way is what attracted Humm's attention. He admires Berkoff for the diversity of his acting style, calling him "A man who has the depth of Kafka and the cinematic presence appropriate for Hollywood productions." He adds, "We are honoured to have worked with him."

The Last Faust is planned to start its Festival run next year

Image - The Humm Collection
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