Human Aspiration, Artificial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Time Travel, Love, Lust, Seduction, Greed and Psychedelia.
A Contemporary Tragedy
22 August, 2019, London, UK: Artist and filmmaker Philipp Humm is excited to announce that The Last Faust, starring British screen and theatre icon Steven Berkoff, (Octopussy, The Tourist, Harvey, Shakespeare’s Villians) will be released on VoD on 2nd of December. The film will premiere in London and Berlin on November 13 and 14.
This 108 minute arthouse feature film is the only definitive filmed version of Goethe’s epic drama, Faust 1&2, making the release a world first. The film is a vital component of Humm’s Gesamtkunstwerk (Total-Works-of-Art) and offers an unparalleled artistic examination of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s tragic masterpiece. Humm’s Total-Works-of-Art, which has been compared to Matthew Barney’s iconic Cremaster Cycle, is composed of 150 works of art, including bronze sculptures, fine art photographs, oil and watercolour paintings and an illustrated novella. This vast and multifaceted collection of artwork is due to be exhibited in 2020.
The Last Faust transposes the 500-year old allegorical tale of Faust’s pact with the Devil, to Silicon Valley in the year 2059. Humanity is on the brink of extinction as Artificial Intelligence (AI) heralds a new dawn of technological superiority. Humm’s protagonist ‘Faust’ is fooled into selling his soul to the Devil in exchange for power and technological ingenuity. Faust seduces an adolescent Gretchen, a love story which ultimately ends in tragedy. Parallels can be drawn between the hedonistic Faust and Harvey Weinstein. Humm explores the psychology of his encounters from a different perspective. Faust’s successor Dr Goodfellow narrates Faust’s story and realises that an unchained pursuit of AI fuelled technological progress leads to the extinction of the human race.
The film stars screen and theatre legend Steven Berkoff as tech CEO, Dr. Goodfellow. Martin Hancock (Coronation Street, Holby City) plays Faust and Glyn Dilley is Mephisto (the Devil). This audacious production is the directorial debut of the London-based German artist, Philipp Humm and is co-directed by German director Dominik Wieschermann.
Stuart Jefferies wrote about the film in The Guardian earlier this year, “Humm’s adaptation tackles sexual harassment, artificial intelligence, the troubling ethical ramifications of technological innovation, the stuff of a million comment pieces. Humm’s Faust – no longer a medieval doctor-magician but an AI guru who yearns to emulate God by creating life.”
Philipp Humm has experienced the technological hunger of the Silicon Valley first hand, as he is a former large tech CEO who became an artist. Speaking about the film’s contemporary spin, he says:
“The story of Faust has more significance today than possibly any other time in history. Our voracious thirst for technology means we’re sleepwalking into a dystopian future where artificial intelligence, unfettered by human concepts of empathy, reshapes the planet in its own image. The fact that we’re complicit in our own demise makes this tragedy all the more apposite. Before the Devil steals your soul, he’ll first steal your password.’’
For interview requests and further information on The Last Faust or The Humm Collection please contact Molly Goring
Additional Notes for Editors
Philipp Humm Biography
Born in Saarbrücken, Germany in 1959, Humm began painting at a young age until, like many before him; he was drawn into corporate life where a stratospheric rise saw him head-up some of the world’s largest tech firms. He holds a BA inPhilosophy from Saarland University, Germany and MBA from IMD in Switzerland.
In 2015 Humm dropped out of corporate life to concentrate exclusively on hisart. He studied at London’s Fine Art Studio and Florence’s Academy of Art. Humm’s work has attracted considerable media attention with his first showmaking the front page of The Wall Street Journal.
He currently lives and works in north London with his partner, the photographer Daniele Mah. https://philipphumm.art/the-last-faust/
The Last Faust transposes Goethe’s epic saga of damnation to the year 2059. Faust’s successor, Dr. Goodfellow is the CEO of Winestone, the world’s largestand most secretive tech firm. His predecessor Dr. Faust sold his soul, traded for the creation of the first Superhuman, to the devil Mephisto, in the manifestation of a Hedge Fund manager. However in the process, he unleashes a much darker force on to the world.
This British production of the The Last Faust is the first and only definitive filmed version of Goethe’s epic verse drama, featuring a screenplay based on Martin Greenberg’s translation. It asks difficult questions about human nature and the perilous future we collectively embark upon while satirically incorporating complex contemporary references.
The Last Faust transposes Goethe’s tragic play to the year 2059 and tells two parallel, yet intertwined stories from the perspective of Dr Goodfellow (Steven Berkoff), the CEO of the world’s biggest Silicon Valley Tech company, as he races against time to document the downfall of humanity.
The first storyline follows Dr Goodfellow’s predecessor, Dr Faust (Martin Hancock), who made a pact with the Devil, Mephisto (Glyn Dilley), a hedge fund manager. In return for his soul, Dr Faust oversees the creation of the world’s first Superhuman and, in the process, unintentionally unleashes an evolved neural network with the power and will to extinguish mankind.
The second story explores Faust’s ill-fated romance with 16-year old Gretchen (Yvi Mai) and his blind passion for the beauty Helena (Scarlett Mellish-Wilson). In this surreal storyline, The Last Faust transcends time and reality as Dr Faust punctuates key moments in history such as the advent of money printing, the Greek war, and the beginnings of the cynical materialism of the modern-day Catholic Church.
The film is 108 minutes in length and cleverly combines multiple disciplines including cinematography, art, dance, design and theatre – all designed and directed by Humm’s artistic vision.
The production, shot in multiple locations across London in 2018, was written by Phillip Humm and Ellen Waddell, The Last Faust is a layered exploration of humanity’s deification of technology. Rich in contemporary references it casts an unflinching gaze into the abyss of untethered desire.
This English language production is accompanied by an original score with additional music by Sirtaki, Wagner and Yello.