In this article, Drabek and North examine Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer's adaptation of the Faust legend in 1994. Svankmajer's Lekce Faust follows three previous adaptations that he worked on : Emil Radok's short film, Johannes Doktor Faust (1958), as well as two theatre productions he staged himself in 1962 and in the early 1980s. Drabek and North begin by anaylsing the construction of Svankmajer's Faust, noting the stylistic differences from Marlowe's version of the character. Furthermore, Drabek and North argue that Švankmajer does not simply transplant the legend into a contemporary Prague, but infuses the 'folkloric, alchemical history of Prague' into the film. The article also discusses Švankmajer's use of marionette theatre elements in Lekce Faust, focussing on the figure of the puppet and its ability to interrogate the materiality and the function of the body in the film. In contrast to the puppet, Drabek and North note that Švankmajer 'mechanises' his Faust, paying close attention to the organic processes and needs of his body, in particular, his tongue. By drawing influences from marionette theatre, Švankmajer is able to comment on both previous adaptations of the legend and the rich tissue of Faust myths, as well as a turbulent, post-communist Prague.


Lekce Faust,Jan Švankmajer,Marionette theatre,Faust,Puppets,Body studies,Prague,Adaptation,Czech puppet theatre,Czech theatre