THE SORROW AND THE PITY
1969, Milestone Films, 251 min, France/Switzerland/West Germany, Dir: Marcel Ophuls

This two-part look at the collaboration between the French government in Vichy and the Nazis during WWII is one of the most devastating films ever made. In a series of interviews with both supporters and opponents of the French-German arrangement, Ophuls revolutionized the art of nonfiction filmmaking. Famously featured in Woody Allen’s ANNIE HALL, the film received an Oscar nomination in 1971 for Best Documentary Feature.


LE SILENCE DE LA MER
1949, Janus Films, 88 min, France, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

Based on the popular Vercors novel about occupied France, director Jean-Pierre Melville’s feature debut is largely set in a French home commandeered by the Nazis for one of their officers (Howard Vernon). The uncle (Jean-Marie Robain) and niece (Nicole Stéphane) who live there cooperate grudgingly, refusing to speak to their German guest, though over time his friendly overtures have their effect. Made outside the French studio system on a shoestring budget with extensive use of location shooting and natural light, this involving drama helped plant seeds that would later blossom as the French New Wave.


ARMY OF SHADOWS
L’ARMEE DES OMBRES
1969, Rialto Pictures, 145 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

Arguably director Jean-Pierre Melville's most personal film (he fought in the French underground during World War II), this shattering portrait of the early days of the French Resistance is not so much a crime film as it is a fascinating companion to the director’s more-famous thrillers. The dark, fatalistic tone and the themes are all there from Melville’s noirs: betrayal, the loss of honor and the mechanics of brutality. Legendary tough-guy Lino Ventura stars in what Melville called “a nostalgic pilgrimage back to a certain period which profoundly marked my generation.” With Simone Signoret and Paul Meurisse.


Syndicate content