Despair (Despair - Eine Reise ins Licht) (1978)
Despair (Despair - Eine Reise ins Licht) Photos
as Hermann Herman
as Lydia Herman
as Felix Weber
as Hotel Receptionist
as Inspector Braun
as Inspector Schelling
as 1st and 2nd Twin and Foreman
as Muller's Brother
News & Interviews for Despair (Despair - Eine Reise ins Licht)
Critic Reviews for Despair (Despair - Eine Reise ins Licht)
Dirk Bogarde, looking natty and nerve-worn, is exactly right as the fissured Hermann, a chocolate manufacturer whose business has turned bitter.
The first half is oppressive, cluttered, and funny, but as the film forsakes its artificial settings for more open spaces, it becomes pale and mechanical.
Fassbinder films life in the cosseted class as a masque of glass and mirrors, replete with alluring deceptions and suave surfaces that belie volcanic passions.
Despite a witty, albeit theatrical, script by Tom Stoppard, prolific German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder does not quite bring off the spirited linguistic innovations, wit and penetrating insights of Vladimir Nabokov's novel.
Bold, garish and obsessive, but more than a little irritating.
Audience Reviews for Despair (Despair - Eine Reise ins Licht)
Despair is a fun and absurd feature. The filmmaking is reminiscent of Bunuel, especially the upfront symbolic imagery, yet the style is distinctly playful, both camera work and acting.
Surrealistic adaptation of Nabokov's is both experimental and oddly poised. From a highly cerebral Stoppard script, Fassbinder propels his film forward using the unsettling staging of his actors and the lushly beautiful work of cinematographer, Michael Ballhaus. The cinematic metaphor is rather clunky, but effective. As the Nazis assume power over Germany a successful chocolate maker begins to slip into existential delusions and the film slips into a mix of psychodrama and film noir. Somehow this experiment works. Dirk Bogarde is especially effective in the lead role. I had read a great deal about this film over the years and agree that DESPAIR was a departure for Fassbinder, but it is firmly rooted in what I would call Fassbinderian Language.
As Fassbinder's first film in English, this psychedelic drama may have an intriguing story but the direction is heavy-handed and lacks that conviction found in his earlier works. Especially the tone he adopts seems incompatible with the kind of story he wants to tell.
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