Despair (West Germany/France, 1978)

71ZtrJcBRHL._SL1032_Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder. This is my third Fassbinder, and it seems safe to say that he’s always a ton of fun. This is one of those movies where just reading the DVD case sells you on it: Fassbinder, with Tom Stoppard, based on Nabokov. And after seeing the deeply impressive lead of Dirk Bogarde, his name will be catching my eye in the future. This film has the same subliminal melancholy of The Marriage of Maria Braun, and the same hilarious, manic, anxious energy of Satan’s Brew. Of course, any time a German filmmaker—even one a fraction as unique and interesting and entertaining as Fassbinder—wants to take a look at how the little cultural blip called Nazism impacted the modern German consciousness, I’m all ears. In this particular treatment, the rise of Nazism is just a backdrop upon which Fassbinder/Stoppard/Nabokov have hung their narrative of split identities, warped perception, self-doubt and delirium. This is a film I will definitely have to watch again in order to grasp fully, but I’d do so gladly.


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