Dirk Bogarde and Andréa Ferréol in a still from Despair (1978)
Dirk Bogarde and Andréa Ferréol in a still from Despair (1978)
Despair (1978)

The Melbourne Cinémathèque & ACMI present


Rainer Werner Fassbinder | West Germany, France | | M

A Russian Jewish chocolatier (Dirk Bogarde) in 1930s Germany plots an escape to Switzerland after becoming convinced that a vagrant (Klaus Löwitsch) is a doppelgänger whose identity he can adopt – though it’s clear to all that what he’s most trying to escape from is himself.

In response to Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s absurd novel of the same name, a macabre tale laced with melancholy humour, Fassbinder delivers what The Guardian calls “an icy, psycho-melodramatic nightmare”, exploring themes of alienation and mental breakdown in oblique, playfully provocative ways.

Format: DCP, Colour
Language: English
Source: Bavaria Media
Duration: 119 mins


17 & 19 May 2021


See below for additional related events


119 mins




Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

How to get there

Membership options

Mini membership
(3 consecutive weeks from date of purchase)
Full $32
Concession $27

Annual membership
(12 consecutive months from date of purchase)
Full $173
Concession $153

Please note, online bookings incur a $1 booking fee.

How to book

Melbourne Cinémathèque patrons can pre-book one session per week, either the Monday or Wednesday night screening. This booking entitles you to entry to both films on the night you have booked. Membership does not ensure admission. Members will not be allowed entry if they have not pre-booked a ticket and the session has reached capacity.

Bookings for this session will open at 12pm Thursday 13 May.

Screens with

Melbourne Cinémathèque 2021 program

There are no upcoming related events at this time.

Plan your visit

Read our COVID-safe visitor guidelines, information on accessibility, amenities, transport, dining options and more.

Start planning

About Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.

Melbourne Cinémathèque is self-administered, volunteer-run, not-for-profit and membership-driven. 

Find out more
Melbourne Cinémathèque - Dirk Bogarde in a still from Victim


In line with current Government requirements, and to ensure your safety, we have reduced the seating capacity for Melbourne Cinémathèque.

Read the ACMI CovidSafe plan