Sunday, July 19, 2015

526. Le Chagrin et la pitie/The Sorrow and the Pity (1971)

Running Time: 262 minutes
Directed By: Marcel Ophuls
Written By: Andre Harris, Marcel Ophuls
Main Cast: Georges Bidault, Maurice Buckmaster, Emile Coulaudon, Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie, Jacques Duclos
Click here to view the trailer


My good, lord, was this a chore or was this a chore! I'm just going to jump right into it tonight, because I really don't think I'll have a lot to say. I'm going to be blunt, I'm going to be short and to the point and we're going to wrap this one up, hopefully in record time.

It's a documentary, kids and that means that I"m probably either going to love it or hate it. Well, I'll put your wondering to an end right away - I hated it. I wanted to be one of the cool kids, who really liked this doc, which gets an 8.4 on IMDB and is pretty much liked by everyone, including Woody Allen, who I think had something to do with the DVD restoration, not to mention the fact that the film is featured in Annie Hall. Oh how I wanted to like the film that Woody likes, but Woody and I have different tastes (he doesn't even like his own movies, which I love and I don't hold Ingmar Bergman in nearly as high regard as he does). I started The Sorrow and the Pity yesterday morning and I managed to tackle three hours, throughout yesterday, saving the final hour for today. In fact, I was only able to tackle an hour of this at a time, before having to take a break.

Look guys, I'm just not a history guy. For the unaware, the film is about the German occupation in France during World War II. Marcel Ophuls (much like he did in Hotel Terminus), interviews people who lived during the time of the occupation, mostly everyday people, asking them to recall their memories of this horrific time period. I feel like, and I've said this before, that it's the responsibility of a documentarian to make me interested in the topic that their asking me to be interested in. Make me think, make me wonder, make me curious, make me thirsty for knowledge. The Sorrow and the Pity DID NOT make me do any of those things. Now that's a fact - not an opinion. So if you're reading this and calling me out - the truth is that I tried hard with this movie and I wasn't curious, interested, filled with wonderment, nor did I thirst for anything, except maybe a stiff shot of morphine to take away my sorrow and pity for having to sit through this. I hate to be so harsh, but these are my opinions.

If you want real sorrow and real pity, rent Shoah and bring a box of Puffs, because that's the World War II/tragic documentary that deserves all the acclaim. That's the talking head documentary that will really make you sit up, take notice and wonder how evil men came to be. There are some tragic stories throughout The Sorrow and the Pity. One particular is with an old woman, who recalls being wrongfully imprisoned for writing a letter that she did not write, beaten and nearly drowned by S.S. officers. It's horrible. However, mostly we're subject to stories about the occupation, not tragic, personal stories and the occupation stories are just downright boring. I wanted this to end by the time I was thirty minutes in and I'm glad it's over and done with. I told my wife, "If I had watched this really early on in my journey through THE BOOK, I'd have called it quits". That's the truth.

RATING: 1/10  I simply can't go higher and anything higher, would simply be me trying to pander to the popular opinion. I personally didn't like it one bit and wasn't interested in it's subject matter.


July 19, 2015  9:00pm

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