TIFF review: Fausto

Canadian director Andrea Bussmann's striking take on the Faust legend is ideal for a big-screen experience

FAUSTO WAVE D: Andrea Bussmann. Canada/Mexico. 70 min. Sep 9, 2:45 pm AGO Sep 11, 7:45 pm TBLB 4 Sep 15, 9 pm AGO. See listing. Rating: NNN

TIFF’s Wavelengths program is increasingly a place to see films that exist at a nexus between narrative, experimental and documentary. Canadian director Bussmann’s highly aestheticized take on the Faust legend and its various iterations (particularly Goethe’s) exemplifies that direction, with striking nocturnal photography and an unhurried atmosphere that’s ideal for a big-screen experience.

On Mexico’s Oaxacan coast, an unseen narrator drifts between Faustian characters, and some locals, who tell a series of stories. The deal-making devil comes in the form of a storyteller who frames themes of money and power in the context of colonialism. Foreigners taking up residence on a beach subtly underlie the themes further.

Bussmann’s camera frequently lingers on swaths of black night and shadow as if more interested in negative space than conventional action. The storytellers aren’t always as captivating as the filmmaker’s eye, but this version of Faust is also at the nexus of a lot self-relfection and questioning happening more broadly in cinema right now.

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