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The Sorrow and the Pity

Director:
Marcel Ophüls
Release Date:
07 Jul 2000
Genre:
Documentary / History / War
Country:
Switzerland
Runtime:
251 min

An in-depth exploration of the various reactions by the French people to the Vichy government's acceptance of Nazi invasion.

From 1940 to 1944, France's Vichy government collaborated with Nazi Germany. Marcel Ophüls mixes archival footage with 1969 interviews of a German officer and of collaborators and resistance fighters from Clermont-Ferrand. They comment on the nature, details and reasons for the collaboration, from anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and fear of Bolsheviks, to simple caution. Part one, "The Collapse," includes an extended interview with Pierre Mendès-France, jailed for anti-Vichy action and later France's Prime Minister. At the heart of part two, "The Choice," is an interview with Christian de la Mazière, one of 7,000 French youth to fight on the eastern front wearing German uniforms.

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