Marcel Ophüls

Active - 1955 - 2013  |   Born - Nov 21, 1927   |   Genres - War, Historical Film, Drama

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Biography by AllMovie

German director Marcel Ophuls, the son of famed director Max Ophuls, has continued his father's legacy of films centering on oppression and prejudice. Recognized for his hard-hitting documentaries, Ophuls is best known for his internationally-acclaimed, award-winning film The Sorrow and the Pity (1970), a provocative French film that chronicled events in Nazi occupied France. It also examined the ways in which some locals in the town of Clemont-Ferrand collaborated with the Germans at that time, which led it to be banned from French TV until 1981, as it was considered too disturbing. The German born Ophuls came to the U.S. with his exiled father where he attended high school in Hollywood. He then went on to study at Occidental College, Los Angeles; the University of California, Berkeley; and at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1951, while still in France, he became an assistant for filmmakers Julien Duvivier, John Huston, and Anatole Litvak. He also began working in German and French television. In 1962, he made an unremarkable directorial debut with the anthology film, Love at Twenty. Following the success of The Sorrow and the Pity, Ophuls continued to produce historical documentaries on a wide variety of social issues. Beyond directing, he also acted and wrote magazine articles for periodicals such as American Film. In addition, he served on the board of the French Filmmakers Society. He has also lectured at American universities. In 1988 he made Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie, which won that year's Oscar for best documentary and the International Critics Prize at Cannes.

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