Murnau @ VIFF Centre


Faust, © picture alliance

26.03.2024 - Article

Date: April 30, 2024
Show: 7:30pm
Location: VIFF Centre | 1181 Seymour St | Vancouver, BC

Experimental music duo Magazinist perform an original live score alongside F. W. Murnau’s Faust on April 30, aka Walpurgis Night — the very evening when Faust is led by Mephisto to the mountaintop for a night of infernal revelry, dancing with witches and spirits in celebration of spring’s arrival.

Playing Mephisto to the audience’s Faust, Magazinist promises a spectral journey of their own, with wind instruments pitch-shifted down to the depths of hell and synthesizers modulated upwards to celestial heights. From microtonal violins to ghostly organ drones awash in reverb, the score vibrates like a cauldron on the verge of boiling or a storm cloud about to crack.

In the words of film critic Lotte Eisner: “Faust is the large-scale deployment of all the artifice of the cinema by a man who knows every detail of his craft.” The film opens, in her words, with some of “the most remarkable and poignant images the German chiaroscuro ever created.” Ominous mists are suffused with a supernatural glow, chandeliers swing in shadowy rooms, and falling snowflakes are backlit by moonlight. The director of Nosferatu and Sunrise, Murnau is regarded as the greatest of all silent filmmakers, and this, his final German film, is a consummate example of his visual artistry.

Following last year’s sold-out Magazinist live scoring of Metropolis, this performance promises to be another unforgettable event. As Mephisto says to Faust: “All that is promised shall delight thee purely.”

This event is sponsored by the German Consulate General Vancouver.
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