The Sorrow and the Pity (Le chagrin et la pitié)


Rafael 3 Fri, Oct 16, 2015 12:00 PM
Film Info
Section:World Cinema
Running Time:260 min
Director:Marcel Ophuls
Producer:André Harris
Alain de Sedouy
Screenwriter:André Harris
Marcel Ophuls
Cinematographer:André Gazut
Jürgen Thieme
Editor:Claude Vajda
Print Source:Milestone Film & Video
Note Writer:Michael Fox


Marcel Ophuls’ brave and controversial excavation of collaboration and resistance in occupied France during World War II is a landmark in the noble history of documentary film. Perhaps still best known in this country for inspiring a running gag in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977)one Jewish filmmaker obsessed with moral conundrums saluting anotherOphuls’ masterpiece deserves rediscovery. Focusing on the small city of Clermont-Ferrand, the director conducted probing interviews, remarkable for their disclosures of individual choices and blinkered (and ongoing) self-justification. What emerges is a complex, disturbing portrait of guilt, heroism, and matter-of-fact obeisance framed by Ophuls’ unwavering moral compass. Even as the documentary exposes the stain of national dishonor that the French had previously ignored or covered up, it challenges the viewer to consider how he/she would have behaved. A work of journalism and history, The Sorrow and the Pity is ultimately a profound philosophical essay.

Additional Information

Marcel Ophuls is a renowned documentarian (The Memory of Justice, 1976; Hotel Terminus, 1988; November Days, 1991, Ain’t Misbehavin’, 2013) who learned the filmmaking craft under the guidance of his father Max, John Huston, and Francois Truffaut, among others. In February 2015, he was honored with the Berlinale Camera Award for his celebrated body of work and is the recipient of an MVFF 2015 Tribute