I would not be telling the truth if I said I could see any connection between Faust and the first three films in Alexander Sokurov's "Men of Power" series. It all began with Moloch (1999), which is about Hitler, followed by Taurus (2001), which is about Lenin, and then The Sun (2005), which is about Emperor Hirohito. The first three films are about real men who once held an enormous amount of political power, while the last is about a fictional doctor who wants to solve the ultimate riddle of life: death. Also, the first three films humanize monsters of the 20th century, whereas Faust is already very human, very much in the world, and, though he is an intellectual, always dead broke. Why slam Faust in with the other films? Your guess is as good as mine.

Nevertheless, Faust, which is not easy to understand, is a pleasure to watch. The film—which was photographed by Bruno Delbonnel, the French cinematographer who lensed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince—opens with the professor (Johannes Zeiler) searching for the human soul in the guts of a corpse with a small penis. Later, he is on the streets of a small but dense town, walking about and meeting people who are as odd as he is. In one scene, a moneylender (Anton Adasinsky), the devil of the film, is naked in a village spa for women. His body is ugly and fleshy, and his small penis hangs above his ass like a tail.

But there is great beauty in this ugly world. Her name is Margarete (Isolda Dychauk), her age is about 20, and her face appears not to have a single fault. Faust becomes more and more obsessed with Margarete; he follows the beauty, stares at it with the most desperate eyes, and eventually makes a deal with the devil to possess the impossible. And how does all this end? With the same old lesson: Never sell your soul for anything. recommended