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

  • Sep 06, 2020

    Hard to watch, VERY long, gruelling and ...unmissable!

    Hard to watch, VERY long, gruelling and ...unmissable!

  • Feb 14, 2020

    This two-part documentary analyzes the occupation of France in World War II through the example of a city with a population of approximately 100,000 people. The spirit of the time is quite well conveyed with the use of archive materials, as well as interviews with members of the resistance movement, collaborators with the occupying forces, and German soldiers who participated in the occupation. Everyone is given the space to express their views and explain the logic that guided them during the war. A side of French history, today mostly hidden, is presented: dark and shameful collaboration, but also the heroic resistance to the occupation - all this in the context of a true civilizational tragedy. The film has been banned in France for more than ten years (it wasn't aired on TV until 1981), supposedly because it was too one-sided, but in fact because it showed the extent of the collaboration and the burden of historical responsibility for the committed crimes - a history that was rushed to be forgotten, in order not to disturb the post-war social consensus and the re-established status quo.

    This two-part documentary analyzes the occupation of France in World War II through the example of a city with a population of approximately 100,000 people. The spirit of the time is quite well conveyed with the use of archive materials, as well as interviews with members of the resistance movement, collaborators with the occupying forces, and German soldiers who participated in the occupation. Everyone is given the space to express their views and explain the logic that guided them during the war. A side of French history, today mostly hidden, is presented: dark and shameful collaboration, but also the heroic resistance to the occupation - all this in the context of a true civilizational tragedy. The film has been banned in France for more than ten years (it wasn't aired on TV until 1981), supposedly because it was too one-sided, but in fact because it showed the extent of the collaboration and the burden of historical responsibility for the committed crimes - a history that was rushed to be forgotten, in order not to disturb the post-war social consensus and the re-established status quo.

  • Feb 17, 2018

    1001 movies to see before you die. This exhaustive documentary confronts a very touchy subject and does so fairly well. The 4 hour time though!

    1001 movies to see before you die. This exhaustive documentary confronts a very touchy subject and does so fairly well. The 4 hour time though!

  • Feb 06, 2018

    Truly magnificent. Opfuls, like his director father, allows his subjects to speak for themselves and sometimes incriminate themselves. Not always easy to follow, and perhaps deliberately--the pity and the fog of war.

    Truly magnificent. Opfuls, like his director father, allows his subjects to speak for themselves and sometimes incriminate themselves. Not always easy to follow, and perhaps deliberately--the pity and the fog of war.

  • Nov 30, 2017

    THE SORROW AND THE PITY is a staggering account of the French town of Clermont-Ferrand under Nazi occupation, and those who dealt with it- particularly the Jewish residents and those who knew them. This will probably go down as one of the greatest documentaries ever made.

    THE SORROW AND THE PITY is a staggering account of the French town of Clermont-Ferrand under Nazi occupation, and those who dealt with it- particularly the Jewish residents and those who knew them. This will probably go down as one of the greatest documentaries ever made.

  • Aug 11, 2016

    8/20/16 Sundance Doc Club Again a documentary does what no studio film could. A detailed and carefully crafted story about occupation, collaboration and revenge this story told through extensive interviews interspersed with news reel film is so compelling that the 4 hour length flies by. This is an important part of WW ll history that can't be missed.

    8/20/16 Sundance Doc Club Again a documentary does what no studio film could. A detailed and carefully crafted story about occupation, collaboration and revenge this story told through extensive interviews interspersed with news reel film is so compelling that the 4 hour length flies by. This is an important part of WW ll history that can't be missed.

  • Jun 09, 2014

    It was my favourite documentary, up until the "Up" series took the top spot. Full review at filmbroadcaster.weebly.com

    It was my favourite documentary, up until the "Up" series took the top spot. Full review at filmbroadcaster.weebly.com

  • Oct 27, 2012

    Marcel Ophuls provides little explicit commentary and lets his interviewees speak for themselves in this 4 hour oral history of one town (Clermont-Ferrand) in Occupied France during WWII. Nevertheless, the story that unfolds is one of complicity with the invading Nazis and neighbor turning against neighbor -- hence, the title: both sorrow and pity are felt toward the French. As Anthony Eden (former British PM) comments, unless your country has been occupied by a foreign power, you are in no position to judge how people respond to this unfortunate situation. It is tragic in its humanity. A better knowledge of French history might have increased the insights on offer to me, but my interest in social psychology made this a fascinating (if saddening) watch.

    Marcel Ophuls provides little explicit commentary and lets his interviewees speak for themselves in this 4 hour oral history of one town (Clermont-Ferrand) in Occupied France during WWII. Nevertheless, the story that unfolds is one of complicity with the invading Nazis and neighbor turning against neighbor -- hence, the title: both sorrow and pity are felt toward the French. As Anthony Eden (former British PM) comments, unless your country has been occupied by a foreign power, you are in no position to judge how people respond to this unfortunate situation. It is tragic in its humanity. A better knowledge of French history might have increased the insights on offer to me, but my interest in social psychology made this a fascinating (if saddening) watch.

  • Jul 03, 2012

    It took me three sittings to get through the four and a quarter hours running time. Was it worth it? absolutely

    It took me three sittings to get through the four and a quarter hours running time. Was it worth it? absolutely

  • Dec 21, 2011

    One of the longest films I have ever seen at four hours and ten minutes none-the-less has an astonishing amount of power. The lengthy documentary chronicles the days of France during the Second World War or from the years of 1939 to 1945. Told through a collection of interviews, conducted mainly in the late 1960's, survivors and prisoners describe a theories of events and incidences that occurred those days, which include the capturing of France; the changing of Paris to Auvergne as the capital from 1940 to 1944; the debate of the Charles de Gaulle's usefulness as president during the war; the treatment of Jews within the nation; and the survival stories of those who were imprisoned and nearly faced death. So many items discussed throughout the film make for an engrossing experience, along with the old black-and-white footage placed into to show images in Paris during the Second World War. My favourite part, which was in the first half, was the discussion on the movies that the Germans implemented into the theories, which were mainly propaganda films, which not even the Germans who moved to France liked. The stories of people's sentences are very interesting and the fact that the French actually did not mind the Jewish, treating them as equal citizens. Very long and talkative, but ultimately impressive film. Due to the length, my suggestion is to watch in two two-hour installments.

    One of the longest films I have ever seen at four hours and ten minutes none-the-less has an astonishing amount of power. The lengthy documentary chronicles the days of France during the Second World War or from the years of 1939 to 1945. Told through a collection of interviews, conducted mainly in the late 1960's, survivors and prisoners describe a theories of events and incidences that occurred those days, which include the capturing of France; the changing of Paris to Auvergne as the capital from 1940 to 1944; the debate of the Charles de Gaulle's usefulness as president during the war; the treatment of Jews within the nation; and the survival stories of those who were imprisoned and nearly faced death. So many items discussed throughout the film make for an engrossing experience, along with the old black-and-white footage placed into to show images in Paris during the Second World War. My favourite part, which was in the first half, was the discussion on the movies that the Germans implemented into the theories, which were mainly propaganda films, which not even the Germans who moved to France liked. The stories of people's sentences are very interesting and the fact that the French actually did not mind the Jewish, treating them as equal citizens. Very long and talkative, but ultimately impressive film. Due to the length, my suggestion is to watch in two two-hour installments.