Best Movies by Farr
The Sorrow and the Pity Poster
Released Runtime Category
1972 260 Documentary, Foreign Language, The Essentials
Director Language
Marcel Ophuls French

The Sorrow and the Pity

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What's it About

Marcel Ophuls's four-hour documentary evokes the Nazi occupation of France via penetrating face-to-face interviews with those who endured it from all sides. We meet the oppressors and the oppressed, those who collaborated and those who resisted. And without judging the survivors too harshly, Ophuls makes us ask ourselves: what would we have done under the circumstances?

Why we love it

A milestone of documentary filmmaking, "Sorrow" captures this devastating period in France's history in painfully frank, unblinking terms — and provides no easy answers, just as there were none at the time. The French people had no choice but to adapt to this oppressive new social order, since rebellion or escape was a life-or-death proposition. So, were the collaborators as guilty as the occupiers? And were those that rebelled really that heroic, if it meant their families would also suffer for their death and betrayal of the occupying forces? Watch this unnerving masterpiece, and reach your own conclusions.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"