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Le Chagrin et la Pitié (The Sorrow and the Pity) (1970)

Le Chagrin et la Pitié (The Sorrow and the Pity)


Average Rating: 8.6/10
Reviews Counted: 24
Fresh: 24
Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 6
Fresh: 6
Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 1,194


Movie Info

Made for French television, Marcel Ophüls' four-hour-plus documentary explores the average French citizen's memories of the Nazi occupation. Just how large and effective was the fabled resistance movement? Is cooperation the same thing as collaboration? And how did one's up-close-and-personal experiences with the occupation troops impact one's postwar life? These questions are probingly posed (but not all are answered) by Ophüls, who also acts as offscreen interviewer. The first half of the film … More

Documentary , Art House & International , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
André Harris , Marcel Ophüls
In Theaters:
Apr 24, 2001
Cinema 5 Distributing

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Critic Reviews for Le Chagrin et la Pitié (The Sorrow and the Pity)

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (0) | DVD (6)

It's valuable mainly as a brilliant assemblage of documents and testimonies.

Full Review… | October 6, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The mosaic is comprehensive, the documentation overwhelming, particularly regarding the nature and extent of collaboration.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

In its complexity, its humanity, its refusal to find easy solutions, this is one of the greatest documentaries ever made.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It soberly spotlights history -- impressively human, not pedantic, levels.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

It remains the preeminent documentary about historical tragedy and one of the most exhilaratingly demanding experiences the movies have ever offered.

Full Review… | August 11, 2002
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

The postwar, Gaullist myth of massive French resistance to fascism has long since been destroyed, yet The Sorrow and the Pity retains its shattering power as an interrogation of memory.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Village Voice
Top Critic

A work which helped change the way France viewed its own past, The Sorrow And The Pity is an impressively assembled documentary which combines archival footage and detailed personal testimonies to profound effect.

Full Review… | October 6, 2007

Through its scale, intelligence, wit, imaginative organisation and polemical thrust, it changed the face of the documentary forever.

Full Review… | October 6, 2007
Observer [UK]

The film is so boldly conceived, richly textured and beautifully paced that its marathon running time feels more like a sprint.

Full Review… | October 6, 2007

Documentary about the horrors of occupying a foreign country. Especially well worth watching now.

Full Review… | January 17, 2007

What is exceptional about the film is its comprehensive structure.

July 21, 2006

A grand, astonishingly comprehensive document, recorded with unfailing persistence and intelligence.

March 3, 2005
The Nation

[A] timeless study of human nature.

Full Review… | May 22, 2004
Empire Magazine

Even today it's lost little of its challenging impact.

Full Review… | May 18, 2004

Though lengthy and obviously downbeat, the 1970 film should be a staple for all serious filmgoers.

Full Review… | July 30, 2003
TV Guide's Movie Guide

For any history buff, this film is a must-see. (Try breaking it up into chunks.)

Full Review… | December 18, 2001

Ophüls is more relentless than Mike Wallace in getting beneath the cover stories and revealing the truth.

Full Review… | June 19, 2001
Old School Reviews

...exposes the political and moral shortsightedness that led to one of the sorriest chapters in an infinitely sorrowful war.

Full Review… | May 18, 2001

Audience Reviews for Le Chagrin et la Pitié (The Sorrow and the Pity)

I had always thought devotion to this movie was being made fun of in Annie Hall, until I saw it (and it takes a while to see it). The drama is amazing during the second half, with all you know about the characters from the first.

Adam Mahler

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Marcel Ophuls, "The Sorrow and the Pity" is an epic documentary about the occupation of France by Nazi Germany from 1940-1944 during World War II, with the spotlight on the city of Clermont which is close to Vichy. The documentary starts out by being a damning examination of the French surrender and capitulation, leading to a collaboration with the Nazis that led to increased anti-Semitism, which may not have totally faded decades later. And in one horrific instance, the French authorities outdo the Nazis in cruelty. The bourgeoisie are portrayed as living their lives as usual during the occupation but the Communists who formed a good deal of the resistance are treated much better. Anti-Communist fervor was a factor that led the French ultra-nationalists to work with the Nazis.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The documentary consists of interviews with English, French and German participants recalling their wartime experiences a quarter century after the fact. Most prominent of the interviewees are Anthony Eden and Pierre Mendes-France. Also shown are clips from Nazi propaganda films.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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