8.3/10
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34 user 37 critic

The Sorrow and the Pity (1969)

Le chagrin et la pitié (original title)
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2:01 | Trailer

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An in-depth exploration of the various reactions by the French people to the Vichy government's acceptance of Nazi invasion.

Director:

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

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Cast

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


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

French | German | English

Release Date:

25 March 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sorrow and the Pity See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Annie Hall (1977) Alvy Singer talks about going to see this film. See more »

Quotes

Georges Bidault: Some people are resistants by nature. In other words, some people are naturally headstrong. Others on the contrary, try to adapt to the circumstances, and get what they can out of it. If you are a resistant over everything and nothing, you're exaggerating. But if you accept everything, you're lying.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 'Alien' Saga (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Ça Sent si Bon la France
Music by Louiguy
Lyrics by Jacques Larue
Performed by Maurice Chevalier
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Historically Significant Historical Documentary
28 August 2007 | by refresh_daemonSee all my reviews

This is an important documentary because it's an early (1969) look back at Vichy France during World War II, when many of those who lived through the Nazi Germany occupation of France were still alive and were able to speak about their experiences. It's a rather straightforward documentary, blending interviews with archival footage and contemporary scenes from France and Germany.

The French filmmakers took care to interview French, both in support and opposed to the government of France who collaborated with Germany after their swift defeat, as well as Germans, both Nazi and otherwise and British officials who were involved in the war. With three languages present, the dialogue is spoken over in French, although in the English cut that I viewed, the English was mostly left alone.

It's not a stunning film as a documentary, in terms of presentation, but some of the stories that the film brings out of its sources are quite amazing and document a lot of details that a basic study of the WWII era during a history class might not bring out. Even more notably, the individual stories of those involved at the time highlight much of what's going on while also providing an emotional connection to a person or groups of people and making the situations easier to imagine. I think The Sorrow and the Pity remains a valuable film simply because there aren't many of its kind from its era and for how personal it chooses to be in telling the stories of the men and women that lived during this terrible moment in history. But it's really long and people who don't care about history or about people's stories probably would find much in here to like. 8/10.


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