Le Chagrin et la Pitié (The Sorrow and the Pity)
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Le Chagrin et la Pitié (The Sorrow and the Pity)
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 is a mosaic of sights and sounds from the years 1940-1944: Maurice Chevalier… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's valuable mainly as a brilliant assemblage of documents and testimonies."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"It soberly spotlights history -- impressively human, not pedantic, levels."
‑ A.H. Weiler, New York Times
"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."
‑ , Film4
"Documentary about the horrors of occupying a foreign country. Especially well worth watching now."
‑ Louis Proyect, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"[A] timeless study of human nature."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"The mosaic is comprehensive, the documentation overwhelming, particularly regarding the nature and extent of collaboration."
‑ , Time Out
"It remains the preeminent documentary about historical tragedy and one of the most exhilaratingly demanding experiences the movies have ever offered."
‑ Peter Rainer, New York Magazine
"Through its scale, intelligence, wit, imaginative organisation and polemical thrust, it changed the face of the documentary forever."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"What is exceptional about the film is its comprehensive structure."
‑ Douglas Pratt, DVDLaser
"Even today it's lost little of its challenging impact."
‑ Jamie Russell, BBC
"In its complexity, its humanity, its refusal to find easy solutions, this is one of the greatest documentaries ever made."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"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."
‑ Leslie Camhi, Village Voice
"The film is so boldly conceived, richly textured and beautifully paced that its marathon running time feels more like a sprint."
‑ Xan Brooks, Guardian [UK]
"A grand, astonishingly comprehensive document, recorded with unfailing persistence and intelligence."
‑ Stuart Klawans, The Nation
"Though lengthy and obviously downbeat, the 1970 film should be a staple for all serious filmgoers."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for Le Chagrin et la Pitié (The Sorrow and the Pity) on Rotten Tomatoes