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critics consensus

The Sorrow and the Pity narrates a painful chapter in France's history through an impressively rich mosaic of testimonies and historical archives, giving a complex texture to the struggles of a people amid tragedy. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In the aftermath of World War II, the French clung vehemently to a belief that they--and their Vichy government--had resisted the Nazi occupation of France. However Marcel Ophuls' seminal documentary finds that when the small city of Clermont-Ferrand is examined closely, the myth of French resistance slowly begins to crumble in the face of overwhelming evidence that the Vichy government willingly collaborated with German forces, for reasons ranging from fear to apathy to blatant anti-Semitism.

Cast & Crew

André Harris
Writer
André Gazut
Cinematographer
Jürgen Thieme
Cinematographer
Claude Vajda
Film Editor
Claude Vajda
Assistant Director
Bernard Migy
Sound
Wolfgang Schroeter
Sound Mixer
Heidi Endruwelt
Assistant Editor
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Critic Reviews for The Sorrow and the Pity

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (28)

  • What I liked most about the film was that it accepted, indeed relied upon, the extraordinary particularity of the individual. There were one or two generalisations... but otherwise, typecasting was avoided.

    March 12, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Watch for Pierre Mends-France, who makes you feel better about the human race after the rest of the film has made you despair.

    February 5, 2018 | Full Review…
  • This is one of the most important -- and gripping -- documentaries on the Second World War and its aftermath.

    June 30, 2017 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • It's valuable mainly as a brilliant assemblage of documents and testimonies.

    October 6, 2007 | Full Review…
  • The film is so boldly conceived, richly textured and beautifully paced that its marathon running time feels more like a sprint.

    October 6, 2007 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • The mosaic is comprehensive, the documentation overwhelming, particularly regarding the nature and extent of collaboration.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Sorrow and the Pity

  • Jun 01, 2007
    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 M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 03, 2007
    [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

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

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