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Despair (1978)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,331 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 29 critic

Germany in the early 1930s. Against the backdrop of the Nazis' rise, Hermann Hermann, a Russian émigré and chocolate magnate, goes slowly mad. It begins with his seating himself in a chair ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Despair (1978)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Herman
Andréa Ferréol ...
Lydia
Klaus Löwitsch ...
Felix
...
Ardalion
Armin Meier ...
Silverman / Sergeant Brown / Foreman
Peter Kern ...
Müller
Adrian Hoven ...
Inspector Schelling
Alexander Allerson ...
Mayer
Hark Bohm ...
Doctor
Roger Fritz ...
Inspector Braun
...
Perebrodov
Y Sa Lo ...
Elsie
Lilo Pempeit ...
Secretary Schmidt
Ingrid Caven ...
Hotel Manager
Voli Geiler ...
1st Landlady
Edit

Storyline

Germany in the early 1930s. Against the backdrop of the Nazis' rise, Hermann Hermann, a Russian émigré and chocolate magnate, goes slowly mad. It begins with his seating himself in a chair to observe himself making love to his wife, Lydia, a zaftig empty-headed siren who is also sleeping with her cousin. Hermann is soon given to intemperate outbursts at his workers, other businessmen, and strangers. Then, he meets Felix, an itinerant laborer, whom he delusionally believes looks exactly like himself. Armed with a new life insurance policy, he hatches an elaborate plot in the belief it will free him of all his worries. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

20 September 1978 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Despair - Eine Reise ins Licht  »

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 6,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was made and released about forty-four years after the film's source novel of the same name by Vladimir Nabokov had been first published as a serial in the literary journal 'Sovremennye Zapiskiin' in 1934, about forty-two years after it was first published as a novel in 1936, about forty-one years after its first English language translation by Nabokov himself was first published in 1937, and about thirteen years after its second English language translation was first published in 1965, which is the main version of the source novel which is available, as most of the first original translations were destroyed by the Germans during World War II. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Well worth seeing -- don't read the other posters spoilers
28 September 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

What can I say -- watch the film. And don't read the other posters comments -- he didn't like the film, or even bother finishing it but felt compelled to make a list of pointless spoilers in his useless comments.

This was Fassbinders shot at 'commercialism', which he failed at entirely (thankfully) but we are left with a thoughtful examination of the boundaries between self awareness and delusion. A metaphor for post war Germany? Who am I to be so pretentious ...

Strong performances, provocative script, not a light romp but neither is it a heavy slog.

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