Mephisto (1981 film)
|Directed by||István Szabó|
|Written by||Péter Dobai
Klaus Mann (novel)
|Starring||Klaus Maria Brandauer
|Release date(s)||29 April 1981 (Germany)
29 September 1981 (premiere at NYFF)
8 October 1981 (Hungary)
22 March 1982 (United States)
|Running time||144 min|
Mephisto is the title of a 1981 film adaptation of Klaus Mann's novel Mephisto, directed by István Szabó, and starring Klaus Maria Brandauer as Hendrik Höfgen. The film was a co-production between companies in West Germany, Hungary and Austria.
The film adapts the story of Mephistopheles and Doctor Faustus by having the main character Hendrik Höfgen abandon his conscience and continue to act and ingratiate himself with the Nazi Party and so keep and improve his job and social position.
The plot's bitter irony is that the protagonist's most fond dream is to play Mephisto - but in order to achieve this dream he in effect sells his soul, and realises too late that in reality he is Faustus; it is the Nazi leader having a major role in the film (modeled on Hermann Göring) who is the true Mephisto.
Both the film and Mann's 1936 novel mirror the career of Mann's brother-in-law, Gustaf Gründgens, who is considered by many to have supported the Nazi Party and abandoned his previous political views for personal gain rather than conscience. (Playing Mephisto was indeed the peak of Gründgens' career, though in reality this was long after the fall of the Nazis.) However, Mann's book is satirical, making Höfgen more a lampoon than a character in his own right, while the film offers a more realistic exploration of a flawed but recognisably human character.citation needed
- Klaus Maria Brandauer as Hendrik Hoefgen
- Krystyna Janda as Barbara Bruckner
- Ildikó Bánsági as Nicoletta von Niebuhr
- Rolf Hoppe as Tábornagy
- György Cserhalmi as Hans Miklas
- Péter Andorai as Otto Ulrichs
- Karin Boyd as Juliette Martens
- Christine Harbort as Lotte Lindenthal
- Tamás Major as Oskar Kroge, színigazgató
- Ildikó Kishonti as Dora Martin, primadonna
- Mária Bisztrai as Motzné, tragika
- Sándor Lukács as Rolf Bonetti, bonviván
- Ágnes Bánfalvy
- Judit Hernádi as Rachel Mohrenwitz, drámai szende
- Vilmos Kun as Ügyelõ
Mephisto was awarded the 1981 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film; the film was submitted to the Academy by Hungary. To date it is the only Hungarian film to win the Foreign Language Oscar.
- "Festival de Cannes: Mephisto". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-05-31.
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