The Sorrow and the Pity (1969)

Chronicle of a French City under the Occupation


Le chagrin et la pitié is a movie starring Georges Bidault, Matthäus Bleibinger, and Charles Braun. An in-depth exploration of the various reactions by the French people to the Vichy government's acceptance of Nazi invasion.
Observing life could be exploited in a new art form since "original" scene are better guides than their fiction counterparts to interpreting the modern world. It present "life as it is", providing an opinion and a message, along with the facts. Materials "taken from the raw" are more real than the acted article. Culmination of the art of storytelling; edifying us, inspiring us, and shaping our sense of ourselves.
From 1940 to 1944, France's Vichy government collaborated with Nazi Germany. Marcel Ophüls mixes archival footage with 1969 interviews of a German officer and of collaborators and resistance fighters from Clermont-Ferrand. They comment on the nature, details and reasons for the collaboration, from anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and fear of Bolsheviks, to simple caution. Part one, "The Collapse," includes an extended interview with Pierre Mendès-France, jailed for anti-Vichy action and later France's Prime Minister. At the heart of part two, "The Choice," is an interview with Christian de la Mazière, one of 7,000 French youth to fight on the eastern front wearing German uniforms.

NDR, SSR SRG Idée Suisse, Télévision Rencontre by Marcel Ophüls, André Harris.
Stars: Georges Bidault, Matthäus Bleibinger, Charles Braun, Maurice Buckmaster.

Genres: Documentary, History, War

Keywords: france vichy regime world war ii nazi germany nazi collaborator nazi occupation occupied france

09/18/1969

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