I Hate Chocoate

But I love this film.

I have deep admiration for Dirk Bogarde. He catalises this film, which is - if I may be so bold - a 'Gesamtkunstwerk' (a 'total work of art'). Yet, it seems to have been forgotten, overlooked, or misunderstood.

Michelangelo Antonioni's, "The Passenger" (1975) is the closest spiritual analogue to this darkly whimsical journey.

Though this novel and film are set during the Weimar Republic, the prologue to that second trans-Europian virus, this is an enduring fable.

Here we are... in a period of history.

I am here.

But wish to be elsewhere. This is impossible.

Then I shall... be ANOTHER PERSONA.


I am a huge Fassbinder fan and I had read in a couple of places about how underwhelming this film was. I recently aquired Olive Film's restored DVD and watched it last night. I didn't know what to make of it... THEN I watched it a second time today, something I almost never do. I'm amazed to say that the film improved dramatically on this second viewing... it's such an odd picture, and not in an obvious way (like, say, Fassbinder's SATAN'S BREW) that I can understand how many people think it's a misfire. There's a subtleness to it that I think can get lost on the viewer.

It must be said that DESPAIR is a bit of a different experience than Nabokov's novel, and it should also be noted that Stoppard was unhappy with the final product. Despite the fact that this is sometimes written off as a "sell-out" picture, an impersonal bid for the international art-house circuit, I think we can see this as a quintessential Fassbinder picture, as much an adaptation of Stoppard's script as the latter was to Nabakov's novel.

It goes without saying that the camerawork/photography is stunning and Bogarde's performance is a real tour-de-force.

Nice to read something positive about it... I hope more people discover this via the new DVD.



I'm surprised to learn that this movie is so highly regarded. It was a despair to watch it. Clearly not among the best of Fassbinder's works.


It actually seems pretty obscure compared to his other movies. I came here to have someone point out how great it was, fully expecting to have the high rating justified, but the consensus seems to be that it is forgettable. Considering it is a collaboration between Bogarde, Stoppard, and Fassbinder, you would expect a more interesting film.

Maybe the book was better. That's all one can say.