Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  44 minutes
Date:  2011
Genre:  Expository
Language:  French / English subtitles
Grade level: 11-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Marcel Ophuls and Jean-Luc Godard

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In Geneva, Switzerland, film directors Marcel Ophuls and Jean-Luc Godard meet for a surprisingly intimate and sometimes contentious dialogue.

Marcel Ophuls and Jean-Luc Godard

In 2009, in a small theater in Geneva, Switzerland, the film directors Marcel Ophuls and Jean-Luc Godard met for an unusual, surprisngly intimate and sometimes contentious dialogue with each other in front of a live audience. Luckily for us, it was filmed.

Ophuls' film THE SORROW AND THE PITY triggers Godard to discuss his personal and fragmented childhood memories about his escape to Switzerland during World War, while Ophuls recalls the controversy surrounding the release of his film in France.

The issue of the written word being taken more seriously than the moving image is brought up by Godard. Throughout their meeting, the two directors debate about national and ethnic identities, what it means to be Jewish, the role of the director, and auteur theory, which ultimately reveals why they never collaborated on a tentative film that was once discussed.

MARCEL OPHULS AND JEAN-LUC GODARD: THE MEETING IN ST-GERVAIS gives us the unique opportunity to spend time with an encounter between two of the most influential and idiosyncratic post-war film directors. Godard and Ophuls are in the twilight of their years, but they remain provocative, sharp, and as uncompromising as ever.

'Funny, fascinating, radical' -La Tribune de Geneve

'The conversation engrosses the viewer intellectually and emotionally and is highly recommended both for academia and pure pleasure. ' -Educational Media Reviews Online

'Very insightful' -Cinehouse UK

'A fabulous document going beyond the frame of the Seventh Art' -Constantin Xenakis, Cineman


** 2011 Visions du Reel
** 2011 FID Marseille
** 2011 Festival des Films du Nouveau Monde
** 2011 Festival Lumiere


Main credits

Ophuls, Marcel (interviewee)
Godard, Jean-Luc (interviewee)
Choffat, Frédéric (film director)
Choffat, Frédéric (director of photography)
Choffat, Frédéric (film editor)
Lowy, Vincent (film director)
Macasdar, Philippe (film producer)

Other credits

Cinematography and editing, Frédéric Choffat.

Distributor credits

A film by Frederic Choffat and Vincent Lowy

Docuseek2 subjects

Film and Video Studies
Film History
Jewish Studies
World War II

Distributor subjects

Cinema Studies
Cultural Studies
Film History
French Culture
Jewish Film Festivals
Jewish Studies
US and Canadian Broadcast Rights


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