The Sorrow and the Pity is a four-hour-long documentary film on life in France during the Nazi occupation. Its success seems to derive from two main sources: first, that it deals with such eternal themes as humiliation, powerlessness, and conflicting moral demands, the problem of courage and cowardice; second, that it is one of the few movies to break with the myth of an occupied France Gaullist from the start, resisting the invader in spirit before breaking out in a liberating insurrection.
When de Gaulle assumed power in 1944 part of the bargain he made with the French people was to return to it a feeling of glory— on condition it would agree to define Petain and Laval as usurpers of French legitimacy. The politicians...
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