The action begins in the starting years of the twentieth century in Podolia, then in the Russian Empire. The Doctor (we never learn his name) is Polish, an utterly unethical physician. He kills a patient with ether trying to rape her and is condemned to death by hanging. In the very last moment, his neck in the noose, his sentence is commuted to banishment to Siberia. He manages to escape and a few years later emerges as a military doctor in a town in Galicia, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His "research", worthy of Dr. Mengele, consists of crude, sadistic and often fatal experiments aimed at the manipulation of defenseless human guinea pigs.
Finally, the postman rings for the second time and he is condemned to death for reasons unrelated to his crimes. This time there is no reprieve and we learn the identity of a mysterious gentleman in black overcoat that had been often present at events for no obvious reason. At this point, it becomes clear that the story is the legend of Faust, although in a much darker version than those of Marlowe or Goethe. We also understand why the opening titles explore in detail Hans Memling's 1467 triptych 'The Last Judgment"
All in all, an ambitious film that achieves its objectives but is at times repetitive and unfocused. The final balance is positive, however.
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