Los Angeles Recommendations June 1-8: Marcel Ophüls

Marcel Ophüls

I love Annie Hall. It’s possibly the movie I’ve seen most in my life. One of my favorite parts is the movie theater queue scene, when Alvy brings out media theorist Marshall McLuhan to shut down a blowhard know-it-all.

The movie Alvy and Annie are waiting to see is Marcel Ophüls’s 1969 documentary, The Sorrow and the Pity. The four-hour French documentary explores the great shame of French collaboration with the Nazis during the Second World War. Like Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog (1956), the documentary was a corrective to France’s vanishing memory of its wartime complicity. Of course, it wasn’t incidental that France’s wartime behavior was being forgotten—Ophüls’s film shows the residents of Clermont-Ferrand crafting a fantasy version of the war in which support for the Resistance was far more common than in reality.

Shadows of the 20th Century, a film series put on by UCLA’s Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, is currently celebrating Ophüls and his essential documentaries. This Friday, the Aero Theatre is showing The Sorrow and the Pity, with an introduction by the filmmaker. The film is somewhat difficult to find in the US currently—the DVD version is available on Amazon, but the only way to stream it is with a Sundance Now subscription. So filmgoers in Los Angeles won’t want to miss it.

Ophüls is the son of the great German filmmaker Max Ophüls, and on Saturday the Aero is showing two of his films: his final masterpiece, 1955’s Lola Montès, and his last triumph before the rise of the Nazis, 1933’s Liebelei. Marcel Ophüls will hold a discussion between the films. Rounding out the weekend is a Sunday Academy screening at the Linwood Dunn theater of Hotel Terminus, his documentary about Klaus Barbie, a Nazi war criminal who aided the CIA and West Germany after the war, and was eventually imprisoned in France for crimes against humanity. The movie won the feature documentary Oscar for 1988.

Other events in the series include a Keynote discussion on Monday, June 4 with LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan, as well as screenings of Ain’t Misbehavin’ (2013) and Max Ophüls’s Letter from an Unknown Woman (1947). You can find the full schedule and more information here.

Tickets for The Sorrow and the Pity, Lola Montès, and Liebelei can be found here.

Tickets for Hotel Terminus can be found here.

Stream The Sorrow and the Pity and Hotel Terminus at Sundance Now.

Stream Lola Montès and other Max Ophüls classics at FilmStruck.

Liebelei is available as a manufactured-on-demand DVD from Amazon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *