Marcel Ophuls’ four-and-a-half hour portrait of the French town of Clermont-Ferrand under German occupation from 1940-44 is one of the greatest documentaries ever made, as important as Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah in its value not just as a film but as an essential historical record in its own right – not least since its interviewees are all long dead.
Describing the fall of France and the rise of the Resistance, with the aid of newly-shot interviews and eye-opening archive footage including newsreels and propaganda films, Ophuls painstakingly crafts a complex, nuanced picture of what really happened in France over this period. He also demolishes numerous self-serving national myths to such an extent that, although he made the film for French television, they wouldn’t show it for over a decade.Read More »
Marcel Ophüls – Veillées d’armes AKA The Troubles We’ve Seen: A History of Journalism in Wartime (1994)1991-2000DocumentaryFranceMarcel OphülsPolitics
Complete French Title: Veillées d’Armes: histoire du journalisme en temps de guerre
Complete English Title: The Troubles We’ve Seen: A History of Journalism in Wartime
None of Marcel Ophuls’ films have ever been very easy to see, but for many years The Troubles We’ve Seen (1994) has had a special mystique. To my knowledge it played only twice in North America (once at the 1994 New York Film Festival and once at Cinematheque Ontario in 1995) before vanishing more or less without a trace. Now, it’s been picked up by the intrepid distributor Milestone, who is showing it widely in anticipation of a planned DVD release. Their timing is ideal.Read More »
Exciting Eddie Constantine outing finds Eddie playing a special agent searching for missing NATO weapons. When he encounters a scientist who has invented a ring that emits a paralysis spray, the hard-boiled spy saves the day with some very Bondian heroics…Read More »
Commissioned by the French television channel Antenne 2, Yorktown covers the bicentennial commemoration of the Siege of Yorktown, near the end of the American Revolutionary War, where the Americans and their French allies defeated the English. The festivities celebrating Franco-American friendship give Ophuls some amusement, as he takes a gleefully ironic look at the formally “friendly” meeting between Mitterand and Reagan, or exposes the absurdity of patriotic folklore. Much to the viewer’s delight, he is not at all reluctant to ask disruptive questions.Read More »