The Sorrow and the Pity [DVD]
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Powerful documentary originally made for French television in 1969 by director Marcel Ophuls.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'.
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have now had two copies of this dvd. Both copies were supposed to have sub titles. They did not. The voice over was French. I could not understand, therefore they were useless. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Arpee.
A must watch if you find the French tiresome. As an old soldier friend said to me, 'they've never forgiven us for liberating them'.... Read morePublished 5 months ago by lawbru
The first DVD was intriguing. Alas the second DVD was corrupted so I couldn't finish the story.Published 8 months ago by Llaf Divad