Mephisto (2020 Rerelease) is a 4K restoration, courtesy of the Hungarian Film Fund.
The 1981 Academy Award-winning Best Foreign Language Film, by Hungarian master István Szabó, concerns a passionate but struggling actor (Oscar nominee Klaus Maria Brandauer, Out of Africa) who remains in Germany during the Nazi regime and reaps the rewards of this Faustian pact by finally achieving the stardom he has long craved.
The pre-eminent Hungarian filmmaker István Szabó achieved worldwide fame with the great success of Mephisto, a powerful, perceptive historical drama whose many honours included the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Austrian actor Klaus Maria Brandauer, in his first of several roles for Szabó, is superb as Hendrik Höfgen, a good-natured, leftist-leaning, but morally weak actor who, under the patronage of a Goebbels-like figure, becomes the leading figure in Nazi-era German theatre. Only too late does he realize that he has sold his soul in the process. Mephisto offers a chilling study of how a series of small compromises, betrayals, and careerist self-deceptions can add up to a bargain of Faustian proportions. Adapted from Klaus Mann’s 1936 roman à clef (Höfgen is a thinly-disguised portrait of prominent actor Gustaf Gründgens, Mann’s brother-in-law), the film made Brandauer an international star.
With all movie theaters being closed due to the Wuhan COVID-19 pandemic, this film bypassed movie theaters and was released via Kino Marquee “virtual cinemas” supporting independent art houses.