Goethe’s tragedy of Beaumarchais and his sister in Spain.

Fritz Kortner’s staging in Hamburg.

The slightly abstracted period settings are advantageously viewed in Ophuls’ filming.




Le Chagrin et la pitié
Chronique d’une ville française sous l’occupation

What a Maquis felt most often, he tells us, “sorrow and pity.”

Rosebushes on the Maginot Line.

France the “far edge” of “an immense continental unity” against America trying to take over “the old order”, says a lecturer on the French Drama.

A certain M. Klein.

A Resistance fighter, registered in London.

“There was a cinema, too, there was everything, even a brothel,” says a prisoner at Buchenwald, the Maquis.

Mme. Menut, “héroïne de Mont Mouchet, torturée et fusillée par les Allemands”.

A couple of German soldiers who spent the war in Clermont-Ferrand have no doubt about their service, but a Frenchman in the Charlemagne Division is utterly disillusioned, the future government evacuates to London under a charge of treason, what everyone is they are. Maurice Chevalier le coq gaulois rises from the dead like Mark Twain after a telegram and sings.


Hôtel Terminus
The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie

There is, however, another seen history, which is of the present. This is the one that grows progressively darkened until whatever the sun is peeps forth, and Klaus Barbie is in jail.

In particular, the South American search has the hallucinatory quality of a prodigiously tickling nightmare.

Barbie in Lyons, death by torture, gratuitous cruelty, Jean Moulin.

After the war, Barbie in U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence against the Russians, till he becomes too hot and is sent down the Rat Line.

Barbie the junta man, spotted and interviewed, arrested under a democratic regime.

The trial in France, guilty on all counts. Izieu, etc.

The structure thereby expresses a function of the Cold War, though both Washington Post reviewers complained it had none and other critics seem never to have noticed one.


Veillées d’Armes
The troubles we’ve seen
Histoire du journalisme en temps de guerre

Supreme fiction or hallucination, the transmitted story of the television reporter or the newspaperman (violins and voids) in Sarajevo. One more try, one more level of abstraction, to dry-shave the beard off the story on the ground.

This is, perforce, a humorous operation. Not that there’s no blood, far from it.

Janet Maslin in her New York Times review described the director as one “whose specialty is plumbing the depths of unfathomable experience,” and quoted one of the reporters, “the more horrible the situation, the more successful we become.”

The Siege of Sarajevo.

Ernie Pyle (premier voyage), Robert Capa (deuxième voyage), roughly speaking.

It isn’t World War II, it isn’t Spain, opinions differ.

Time Out Film Guide sees “a personal, rogue (and sometimes roguish) vision.”

Nathan Lee in the Village Voice, “penetrating... far-ranging... riveting... butt-busting...”

Eric Monder in Film Journal International plays the devil’s advocate between “a broad and multi-faceted investigation” and “seemingly rambling structure... archival film clips... the director’s own leftist camp...”

A trap for journalists, who in “a new form of censorship, probably the most radical... get shot in the street...”