German filmmaker F.W. Murnau may be best known for Nosferatu the Vampire—his unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula—but it was his 1926 silent film Faust that set the era’s standard in epic filmmaking. Murnau’s adaptation of the classic Faust myth stars Gösta Ekman as an aging alchemist who—unable to heal townspeople afflicted with the plague—falls into despair and offers his soul to Mephisto (Emil Jannings) in exchange for a cure and renewed youth. With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Faust gives in to carnal temptations, ultimately corrupting both the young virgin Marguerite (Camilla Horn) and himself. Featuring stylish cinematography, lush set design, and melodramatic storytelling, Faust was one of the most ambitious productions of the silent era and the director’s last German film before he accepted a contract with Hollywood’s Fox Studios. The film screens at 3 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Matthew Borlik)