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The Sorrow and the Pity (1969)

Le chagrin et la pitié (original title)
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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 ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Georges Bidault ...
Himself
Matthäus Bleibinger ...
Himself - Wehrmacht Soldier in the Auvergne (as Mathaus Bleibinger)
Charles Braun
Maurice Buckmaster ...
Himself - Former Head of the British Underground
Emile Coulaudon ...
Himself - Former Head of the Auvergne Maquis
Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie ...
Himself - Founder of the Liberation Movement
René de Chambrun ...
Himself - International Lawyer (as Count René de Chambrun)
Christian de la Mazière ...
Himself - Aristocratic Former Nazi
Darquier de Pellepoix ...
Himself - Handshake with Heydrich (archive footage)
Jacques Doriot ...
Himself - Head of the French Popular Party, 1942 (archive footage)
R. Du Jonchay ...
Himself - Head of the Resistance Movement (as Colonel R. du Jonchay)
Jacques Duclos ...
Himself - Former Secretary of the Clandestine Communist Party
Anthony Eden ...
(as Lord Avon)
Sgt. Evans
Marcel Fouche-Degliame ...
Himself - Director of the Combat Movement (as Marcel Degliame-Fouche)
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Storyline

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. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Important Fact Film Ever Made


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

| |

Release Date:

25 March 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Sorrow and the Pity  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Claude Levy: France is the only government in all Europe whose government collaborated. Others signed an armistice or surrendered, but France was the only country to have collaborated and voted laws which were even more racist than the Nuremberg laws, as the French racist criteria were even more demanding than the German racist criteria. It's not something to be proud of.
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Connections

Featured in Sneak Previews: The Best Films of the '70s (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Notre Espoir
Music by Henri Betti
Lyrics by Maurice Chevalier
Performed by Maurice Chevalier
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User Reviews

 
The Best World War II Film I've Seen

I bought the DVD version of THE SORROW AND THE PITY not so much because I wanted to watch it, but because, as with many other classic films, I felt I should. At 4 hours long, I could never quite muster the will to screen it, with the end result that this film sat on my shelf for months before I finally gathered the courage to watch it last night. My original plan had been to screen the first disc one night then watch the rest after a decent interval of recovery. I quite frankly expected to be bored to death watching hours on end of interviews in French.

Boy was I wrong. This turned out to be one of the most engrossing films I've seen. Yes, it is too long. But you're willing to forgive it that. This is simply the best film I've seen on World War II. Numerous interviews with French politicians, teachers, shop keepers, peasants, hoteliers, and more along with ones of Germans and Englishmen gave one of the most revealing and human portraits of World War II - and of the French people - I've seen. Combined with included archival footage from the war, this made for what is clearly one of the great all time documentaries and greatest WWII films I've seen.

TSATP draws you in right away and really never lets up. Almost every interview enlightens in some way. Everybody talking has their own agenda - spin in modern parlance - but the director is able to combine these in a way that exposes the most blantant of falsehoods and also paints a realistic composite portrait. The Nazi propaganda films were also chilling. One early example is a film of black and arabic French soldiers captured by the Nazis with the implication that racial impurity led to the French demise.

I could go on and on about this but I think I'm running out of room and need to talk about the DVD. I highly recommend this film for anyone who wants to go beyond history book versions of the war.

As for the DVD version itself, there are several flaws, starting with the $50 price tag. Beyond that, the print used was a poor one. The quality of the interview scenes was not much better than that of the archival footage spliced in. The subtitles were also not that great. Interestingly, much of disc two appeared to have a remixed soundtrack. For interviewees in English and German, the director dubbed over a partial French translation with the original language reduced in the background. This partial French translation was then subtitled in English (and not always well). On disc two, quite a few of the English sections did not have French dubbing or subtitles, which is where I suspect the sound remix comes in. The ending was also quite abrupt and choppy (Maurice Chevalier in English?) and didn't have the feel of being original, though let me stress I've no real knowledge to substantiate this.


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