Douglas Sirk - Hope as in Despair

Douglas Sirk - Hope as in Despair

Switzerland | 2022 | 76 min. | Roman Hüben

Uncover the mysteries of Douglas Sirk, the German film director and master of melodrama responsible for such landmark Technicolor films as All That Heaven Allows and Written on the Wind through revealing interviews and excerpts from his wife’s journal.

Douglas Sirk was famous for crafting successful Hollywood melodramas in the 1950s which were often dismissed as "women's weepies." Critics hated them at the time, but later critics came around to them. With his heightened focus on set design and drama, his films can feel artificial even when they expose the artificial aspects of society that constrain and doom love affairs. As it turns out, his own life had as much drama as any of his films, if not more. Born in Germany, he found early success in the theater and then in film. He had less success with his ex-wife, who joined the Nazi party and tried to have him arrested after he married Hilde Jary, a Jew. He and Hildy left in 1937 and ended up in Hollywood, where he established a career that has become an inspiration for filmmakers around the world, from Pedro Almodóvar to John Waters to Rainer Werner Fassbinder to Todd Haynes (who is interviewed here). Instead of a greatest hits retrospective, this movie goes deeper to look at his personal life and the events which may have inspired some of his greatest works, and it's fascinating.

Andy Spletzer

  • Director: Roman Hüben
  • Principal Cast: Todd Haynes, Jon Halliday, Bernard Eisenschitz, Denis Rossano, Hanna Schygulla
  • Premiere Status: North American
  • Country: Switzerland, Germany, France
  • Year: 2022
  • Running Time: 76 min.
  • Producer: Nicola Genni
  • Screenplay: Romen Hüben
  • Cinematographers: Mathieu Gaudet
  • Editors: Marylou Vergez
  • Music: Martin Perret
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: German, English, French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: Pic Film