221 Great Directors: Marcel Ophuls

“I only script in the editing room when I have maybe 120 hours of rushes [raw footage]. And I work on those, and by and by, idea by idea, sometimes they’re good and sometimes they’re not so good, it all comes together.”


What Got This Director Here?
: Sorrow and the Pity.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: N/A

What Did I Watch: Sorrow and the Pity.

Where Does He Fit: The Sorrow and the Pity is an unusual film in many respects. Marcel Ophuls, Max’s son, goes for the static talking heads approach for most of the interviews with his documentary subjects rather than something more fundamentally elegant than what his father did for the fiction he tackled. The length is so much that the film must be four hours, meaning that as a critique of societal norms that the Ophuls clan was so fond of, it limits itself to a very selective audience thanks to how big it is. Truly a shame, as this study of how France collapsed to the Nazis is exactly what we’ll always need.

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Most Valuable Asset: Mountains of footage.
Most Excited For: Hotel Terminus.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Undecided.

Coming Up Next: Great romantic, Frank Borzage.

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