Le Chagrin et la Pitié
1969 / 251m - France
Documentary, War
The Sorrow and the Pity poster


March 11, 2023


War documentaries are a dime a dozen, the longer they are the more critical acclaim they seem to garner. I knew what I was getting myself into in other words. The Sorrow and the Pity certainly isn't the worst of them, as it doesn't focus so much on the fighting. Instead, it hones in on how people coped with the everyday reality of occupation.

There are some interesting stories here, mostly when people try to make excuses for siding with the Germans or not doing enough to resist the occupation. It paints a very different story from the usual victory morale, a more realistic and down-to-earth account of what it is to live through a war.

The thing is that 4+ hours is quite long and it does get pretty repetitive after a while. There are a lot of people talking and talking and talking, making similar points with different stories. A shortened version would've been a lot better for me, but I'll say that it ended up being better than expected.