Master documentarian Marcel Ophüls (The Sorrow and the Pity) turns his gaze back on his own extraordinary life with this memoir, both rigorous and playful, that touches on love, arduous investigations into fraught moments in recent history, and Ophüls’ famous father, director of such masterpieces as The Earrings of Madame de...
Marcel Ophüls is like a Zelig of the twentieth century, coming face to face with an impressive number of its history makers. As the son of German-Jewish filmmaker Max Ophüls, exiled in Hollywood during the Second World War, Marcel grew up around the likes of Preston Sturges and Bertolt Brecht. He launched his own career directing fiction films with the help of François Truffaut, then earned a reputation as a master of documentary. His breakthrough, The Sorrow and the Pity, explored the depths of French collaboration with the Nazis. Despite a four-hour runtime, it was a sensation that played in New York theatres for eighteen months, memorialized as a favourite of Woody Allen's character in Annie Hall. Marcel went on to win an Academy Award for Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie, a film that explored the challenges of bringing escaped Nazis to justice. His other films span Northern Ireland's Troubles, Germany's reunification, and Yugoslavia's breakup.
Now, at the age of eighty-five, still feisty
and full of humour, Marcel looks back on
his life, revisiting old friends and drawing
upon a rich array of film clips. He pays
extensive tribute to his father's career, full
of masterpieces such as La Ronde, The Earrings of Madame de... , and Letter from
an Unknown Woman. Ever the raconteur,
Marcel reflects on his twists of fortune,
both good and bad. His disputatious nature
was an asset for confronting war criminals,
but a hazard for personal relationships.
His wife, Regine, deserves a cinematic
sainthood for enduring such an irascible
husband. Their turbulent marriage winds
its way through this memoir and gives it an