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

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

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

97

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 1,192

My Rating

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

Apr 24, 2001

Cinema 5 Distributing

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

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

October 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

August 11, 2002 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop 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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

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

October 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

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

October 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

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

January 17, 2007 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

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.

May 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

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

May 18, 2004 Full Review Source: BBC.com
BBC.com

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

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

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

December 18, 2001 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

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

June 19, 2001 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

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

May 18, 2001 Full Review Source: culturevulture.net
culturevulture.net

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.
June 1, 2007
adammahler1

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]
March 3, 2007
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • The Sorrow and the Pity (Le chagrin et la pitié) (DE)
  • Sorrow and the Pity, The - Part 1 & Part 2 (UK)
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