avatar for Memory of Justice, The

Memory of Justice, The

Little seen since its original release nearly forty years ago, this epic undertaking by master documentarian Marcel Ophüls (The Sorrow and the Pity) about wartime atrocities delves into issues of guilt and justice that transcend both time and national borders.

Ophüls directed The Memory of Justice between his acclaimed examination of Vichy France, The Sorrow and the Pity, and the Academy Award-winning Hotel Terminus, a searing look at the life of the infamous Klaus Barbie. Taken as a loose trilogy, the films form an expansive, at times devastating look at the Twentieth Century. Focusing on the troubling legacies of the Nuremberg trials, the French-Algerian war and Vietnam, Memory combines archival footage with contemporary interviews with witnesses, whistleblowers and unrepentant war criminals. As compelling as their expert testimony is, however, the film’s most arresting moments come when Ophüls captures ordinary people—including his own family—struggling to come to terms with man’s capacity for and justification of violence on a massive scale. For some, it’s easy: a German farmer recalls the Nazi era as a simple time of law and order. For others, like the parents of a soldier killed in Vietnam, they can only wonder what, if anything, could have made a difference. It’s a question that still haunts us today.

DIRECTOR: Marcel Ophüls
LANGUAGE: German, English, French
COUNTRY: United Kingdom/​USA/​Germany
YEAR: 1976
LENGTH: 278 min
Sunday, November 1

12:00pm EST