Chantons Sous l'Occupation (1976)

Genres - History  |   Sub-Genres - Military & War, Social History  |   Run Time - 87 min.  |   Countries - France  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Many documentaries have looked at the grimmer side of the Nazi occupation of France: at the lives of collaborators and resistance figures. This documentary looks instead at the daily lives of survival-minded ordinary people, and the French people's undaunted desire to live and enjoy life even under the occupation. French entertainers performed for the Germans, and Frenchmen also attended German entertainments. Virtually the day after French cities were occupied, newspaper advertisements for restaurants appeared in German. French madams reminisce about their brothels' German customers, and one madam suggests that her German clients were cleaner (and thus preferable) to her later American ones. The question of how to balance survival against activities which were clearly collaborationist is explored. The distinction between these is shown to have been fuzzy indeed, the subject of many disagreements then and now.