Friday, October 9, 2015

An attempt to say something meaningful about the vitally important The Memory of Justice (1976) New York FIlm Festival 2015

On September 27th the New York Film Festival screened the restored version of Marcel Ophuls follow up to THE SORROW AND THE PITY  called THE MEMORY OF JUSTICE. The film is a five hour look at guilt, memory and history, it was a heavy heavy experience.

The film was made when the BBC asked for a follow up to SORROW. Ophuls began work but found someone had beaten him to the subject. Looking around he began to look at the Nuremberg trials. This widened to take in more modern events such as Vietnam and  the Algerian war. The resulting film runs just under five hours and is something you'll need to see a couple of times to fully grap.

This is a heavy film, While at times over long and rambling, this film overwhelms you with facts and questions about war and human nature. It is epic in scope, but at the same time very personal as Ophul's turns the camera on his own family to examine how his wife and her family dealt with life in Germany during the war. Ophuls' film compresses enough material for ten History Channel series into one huge five hour bite.

I'm not going to lie, I don't know where to begin to discuss the film. I need a couple more times through it to grasp it all. I started taking notes and stopped because I could make notes or watch the film but not both, too much was being said and shown.  I don't know how anyone can say they "get" the film after one time through. I don't think it's possible.  My eyes glazed over the first time through and I ran off at the intermission because my brain was full. All I know is that the film was incredible. It raised a lot of questions that really need answering, specially in these days of fighting wars that are morally questionable.

The film is getting a rerelease soon- so keep an eye out. And check back for a longer review is coming as soon as I piece some words together.

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