Synopsis by Robert Firsching
Documentarian Marcel Ophüls (The Sorrow and the Pity) directed this brilliant 267-minute examination of Klaus Barbie, the infamous "Nazi Butcher of Lyons." Barbie was the Gestapo chief responsible for the death of most of Lyons' population, including women and children, during the Nazi occupation of France. After WWII, he cooperated with American intelligence agents, who helped him settle in Bolivia in 1951, conveniently ignoring his numerous atrocities. Finally, Barbie was extradited to France and put on trial in 1987, where he received a sentence of life in prison. Avoiding the usual atrocity footage, Ophüls instead comprises his film of interviews with those who knew Barbie, suffered because of him, or stood by and did nothing while he got away with murder. The accumulated details and appallingly self-serving answers to Ophüls' probing questions point an accusatory finger not only at Barbie, but at France, the United States, South America, and ultimately most of humankind. A stunning and powerful achievement, the film won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 1988.
concentration-camp, Gestapo, Holocaust, mass-murder, Nazism, war-atrocities, extradition, fugitive, war-crimes
High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance