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Despair (film)

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Genre  Drama
Screenplay  Tom Stoppard
Language  English
7.5/10 IMDb

Music director  Peer Raben
Country  West Germany
Despair (film) movie poster

Director  Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Writer  Tom Stoppard, Vladimir Nabokov
Release date  1978 (West Germany)1979 (USA)
Cast  Dirk Bogarde (Hermann Hermann), Andréa Ferréol (Lydia Hermann), Klaus Löwitsch (Felix Weber), Volker Spengler (Ardalion), Peter Kern (Müller), Gottfried John (Perebrodov)

Similar  The Marriage of Maria Braun, Fox and His Friends, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

Despair is a 1978 film directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and starring Dirk Bogarde, based on the novel of the same name by Vladimir Nabokov. It was entered into the 1978 Cannes Film Festival.


Despair (film) movie scenes

Similarly to the novel, the tone of the film is ironic. The plot is mostly similar to the novel, although one of the key characters is significantly altered in the adaptation.

Despair (film) movie scenes


Despair (film) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters184p184pv

Hermann Hermann lives in Berlin during the Weimar Republic. A refugee from Soviet Russia, with a Baltic German father and a wealthy Jewish mother, he has inherited a business making chocolates. His wife Lydia, voluptuous but not intelligent, has an over-close relationship with her bachelor cousin, a painter called Ardalion. As the Great Depression bites and Nazi thugs start targeting Jewish businesses, with his firm becoming less profitable and Germany less hospitable, Hermann starts dreaming of escape. He already has moments of leaving his body, for example to watch himself making love to his wife, and consults a man he believes to be a Viennese psychiatrist. In fact it is a life insurance salesman, who sells Hermann a policy.

Despair (film) Despair Film Society of Lincoln Center

After watching a film which features a doppelgänger, he sees an unemployed drifter called Felix, who he decides is his double. Felix, bemused because he sees no resemblance beyond height and age, goes along with the idea when Hermann promises him a job. The work, it emerges, is to act as Hermann's double for a substantial lump sum.

Despair (film) Despair 1978 IMDb

Hermann is now able to finalise his plan, which is to erase all traces of his unwelcome existence. After getting Ardalion to write a letter that demands money to leave Lydia and go painting in Switzerland, he shows the letter to the insurance salesman as evidence that he is being blackmailed. Then he tells Lydia that he has a troubled twin brother who is contemplating suicide. He will change clothes with his brother, so that the corpse is taken as his, and lie low in Switzerland. When Lydia has been paid the insurance money, she is to join him there.

Despair (film) Despair Film Society of Lincoln Center

Meeting Felix in the woods, they change clothes and Hermann then shoots him dead. Dressed as Felix and with Felix's passport, he goes to a Swiss hotel, where he learns from newspapers that the Berlin police are seeking the murderer and suspect it is him. Moving in increasing desperation from village to village, in the end he is spotted by Ardalion and armed police close in. To them he explains that he is an actor making a film and they must stand aside to let him go on.


Despair (film) Despair Bluray France

  • Dirk Bogarde – Hermann Hermann
  • Andréa Ferréol – Lydia Hermann
  • Klaus Löwitsch – Felix Weber
  • Volker Spengler – Ardalion
  • Peter Kern – Müller
  • Alexander Allerson – Mayer
  • Gottfried John – Perebrodov
  • Hark Bohm – Doctor
  • Bernhard Wicki – Orlovius
  • Adrian Hoven – Inspector Schelling
  • Roger Fritz – Inspector Braun
  • Y Sa Lo – Elsie
  • Armin Meier – 1st Twin/2nd Twin/Foreman
  • Ingrid Caven – Hotel receptionist
  • Voli Geiler – Madam
  • Home media

    Despair (film) Despair What I Watched Last Night

    Despair was released to region 1 DVD and Blu-Ray in 2011.


    Despair (film) Wikipedia
    Despair (film) IMDbDespair (film) Rotten TomatoesDespair (film)