SIFF 2023: Douglas Sirk-Hope as in Despair (***)

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on May 20, 2023)

I’ve never thought of director Douglas Sirk (best-known for vivid technicolor 50s melodramas like Written on the Wind and Imitation of Life) as a personal filmmaker, but Roman Hüben makes a convincing argument in his fascinating portrait (it turns out that elements of Sirk’s personal life were quite…Sirkian, and formative to his work). Pigeonholed during his heyday as a purveyor of “women’s weepies”, Sirk has gained critical appreciation and influenced filmmakers like Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

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