Marcel Ophüls is one of the world’s most important contemporary filmmakers and chroniclers, and a proponent of critical remembrance. By the 1960s he had already made a name for himself as documentary filmmaker. He had started his career as television journalist and assistant director for John Huston, Julien Duvivier and his father, the famous theatre and film director, Max Ophüls.
In his documentary works, he has often focussed on topics related to National Socialism and sought to trace the roots of totalitarianism.
In 1989 Marcel Ophüls presented Hotel Terminus - Leben und Zeit des Klaus Barbie (Hotel Terminus: The Life And Time of Klaus Barbie), the story of Lyon’s local Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie, in the Forum programme. Among many other awards, the film won the Peace Film Prize and the Academy Award for Best Documentary. In 1991, Ophüls was again invited to participate in the Forum with November Days (Novembertage – Stimmen und Wege). Shot one year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he explores the reactions and opinions of, for instance, ordinary citizens whom he discovered in footage from November 9, 1989. The last film he presented in the Forum was in 1995: Veillées d'armes (The Trouble We've Seen), in which he criticizes the coverage of war in the media.
In The Memory of Justice (1976) Marcel Ophüls interviews some of the accused at the Nuremberg Trials, veterans of the Vietnam War and survivors of the Algerian War of Independence. In doing so, he explores their awareness of guilt and responsibility. To celebrate the Berlinale Camera for Marcel Ophüls, the festival will screen this nearly five-hour monumental work, which has been restored for its premiere at the Berlinale by the Academy Film Archive in association with Paramount Pictures and The Film Foundation, with support from Material World Charitable Foundation, Righteous Persons Foundation, and The Film Foundation.
“Marcel Ophüls’ oeuvre has contributed significantly to the investigation of anti-Semitism. The Memory of Justice is also a reminder that we must never stop examining the question of collective and individual responsibility,” states Festival Director Dieter Kosslick.
The presentation of the Berlinale Camera to Marcel Ophüls took place on February 11, 2015. Film critic Katja Nicodemus held the laudatory speech in honour of the recipient.
Watch the video of the presentation.
Following the screening of The Memory of Justice (1976), there was a discussion moderated by Sandra Schulberg. In 1948 her father, Stuart Schulberg, made Nuremberg, the first documentary about the Nuremburg Trials. Sandra Schulberg was responsible for the restoration of the film in 2011. In addition to Marcel Ophüls, The Film Foundation’s Executive Director Margaret Bodde and Hamilton Fish, producer of The Memory of Justice, participated in the discussion.
Watch the video of the panel discussion.