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The Sorrow and the Pity [DVD]

40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: René de Chambrun, R. du Jonchay
  • Directors: Marcel Ophuls
  • Producers: André Harris, Alain de Sedouy
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Arrow
  • DVD Release Date: 18 Oct. 2004
  • Run Time: 249 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002PC2OK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 65,597 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Powerful documentary originally made for French television in 1969 by director Marcel Ophuls. The film chronicles the Nazi occupation of France from 1940 to 1944, using archive footage such as propagandist newsreels and footage of Maurice Chevalier singing for the German troops, coupled with personal interviews with French Resistance fighters and former German officers as well as government officials, spies, war veterans and ordinary citizens. Focusing in particular on the occupation of one small French industrial city, Clermont-Ferand, the film asks probing questions about the anti-Semitism and xenophobia prevalent in French society at the time. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1972, and was famously used by Woody Allen as a leitmotif in his film 'Annie Hall'.

Review

Irresistible --The Observer

One of documentary cinema's genuine masterpieces --Empire

an impressively assembled documentary which combines archival footage and detailed personal testimonies to profound effect --Film4.com --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

206 of 207 people found the following review helpful By M. Mabberley on 18 July 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A film that inspired so many other directors and often referred to as one of the great films of all time, Le chagrin et la pitié, to use the film's French title, was made for French television in 1968 by Marcel Ophüls but the broadcasters refused to show it, so disturbing were the contents thought to be. Ultimately it received a limited release, mainly being shown in "art house" cinemas where it's reputation spread. The film was eventually broadcast on French television in 1981.
This masterpiece, running at over 4 hours and divided into two parts dealing with the occupation of France and the choices made by the French people during the occupation, is a time capsule. Consisting mainly of interviews, interspersed with archive footage, the film was made when the participants - French, German and British - were still alive and the memory of the events still fresh in their minds. Their stories - the collaboration and the resistance, the attitudes and perspectives of real people - render this period of French history together into a profound and thought provoking film that will give all who see it pause for thought. Historical amnesia benefits no one.
The subtitled film is divided into two clear halves conveniently split over 2 DVDs. This edition includes an interview conducted in 2004 with the director.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By harpman on 11 Jan. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Stunning, illuminating and completely compelling documentary of WW2 France. Repeated viewings do not detract from the impact made by the retrospective accounts gleaned from often very ordinary people who found themselves in totally extraordinary situations. From the modest, matter of fact but 'hard as nails' farm labourers who fought with the Resistance to the landed gentry and castle owner who elected to serve not with the Resistance but astonishingly as a founder member of the SS French Division. This seminal film brilliantly captures a polarised French society in the late 1960's struggling to come to terms with it's recent history, its courage and strengths but also with the deceipts, acquiescence, and frailties of many of its citizens. I do not find that the subtitles detract from this moving experience. Simply, my favourite film of all time and I will continue to watch it again and again.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. W. Livett on 19 Jun. 2010
Format: DVD
Ophuls examination of the fall of France in 1940 and life under the Nazis for the next five years will leave a lasting impression on your mind 'He marries archive film with later interviews over the whole range of participants from collaborators to resistance fighters. This marrying together of archive and interview is brilliantly done and far superior to the ghastly historical reconstructions that TV often goes in for. Although the film deals with France its impact is universal in that it shows the height and depths to which mankind can reach.At the same time it is always entertaining, its emotional impact is greater than most dramas.Not to be missed it truly is one of the all time documentary greats
nd interview
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72 of 77 people found the following review helpful By tc61 on 8 Jan. 2008
Format: DVD
If you are a native English speaker with only a rudimentary knowledge of French as I have, you will struggle with this film. This version was made for English speakers as the subtitles are only when the French or Germans are speaking. But, for some reason, the subtitles drop off or malfunction about 25% of the time. This leaves a very frustrated viewer as entire subjects can be left hanging.
The subject matter is excellent though some of the interviews are a bit drawn out. Very artistic filming of those being interviewed which helps make the four hours interesting.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Canonistic on 25 Mar. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a powerful and incisive account through interviews carried out soon after the war, of people from all walks of life and political persuasion in Vichy France during the WWII. It is a good indication of the fascism that existed in France, bolstered by the bourgeoisie, the anti British feeling, the cruelty of the French to their own people including the Jews, the continuing pride of the common German soldier in Germany's actions during the war, the experience of those brave individuals who truly joined and fought in the resistance and the immediate aftermath of the war and the myth created by de Gaulle.

This myth has cushioned France against their inaction during the WWII. Watch this and you realise just how important keeping the European Community together is, nothwithstanding the difficulties. The cracks are papered over but have not gone.

Watch this. The film is in black and white with subtitles in English
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Mar. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Black and White Documentary shot in the 1960's and initially not too appealing; but then as it unravels and meticulously details the events between 1940-1945 it becomes spellbinding: No wonder it created such a huge impact when first screened in France.

Ordinary French people, unlike the Poles, seemingly caved in to the Germanic overlords. The middle classes in particular, welcomed them as liberators from Leon Blum and the Popular Front, the pre war socialists. Whilst in 1939 the ladies of Paris clubbed together to buy rose bushes for the soldiers who manned the Maginot Line because it was feared they would be bored, staring at concrete, they were ready to soiree with the new Meister's in 1940 when they stomped around Paris.

Within a matter of weeks, France, a country that had bled itself dry in 1914-18 to keep the Teutons at bay, became severed into three parts; over manned by Germany, underwhelmed by Vichy and thin sliced by Fascist Italy.

France, the originators of European Nationalism became a vassal state to the 3rd Reich. Nominally kept out of the fighting, although it supplied the SS Charlemagne Division to the Eastern Front, it sent many workers to Germany to keep the German factories ticking over with a constant stream of munitions. Thereby, France freed up the Reich to send its young men to their early deaths on the Russian Steppes.

Composed of a series of interviews, some are former French Nationalist combatants, other Communists and Royalists as well as Gaullists, the documentary weaves a sense of historical magic as it strips away the amnesiac blanket France has covered herself in since 1940. She was not just conquered but she soired and sections of the population secretly welcomed the newcomers to liberate them from their peasants.
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