French New Wave founder Claude Chabrol (Merci Pour Le Chocolat, La Cérémonie) creates a masterful look at the Nazis' media manipulation, which is as engrossing as any of his thrillers. Chabrol assembles a brilliant compila... more »tion of long forgotten film footage and newsreels produced by the Nazis and French collaborators during World War Two.
Written by Jean-Pierre Azema and Robert Paxton and narrated by Joe Cox (Manhunter; The Ring), The Eye of Vichy focuses on the small town of the same name in central France where Field Marshall Petain's puppet government worked with their Nazi overlords to create pro-Nazi propaganda. Seeking to turn the tide of public emotion against both the Allied Forces and the Jews, these collaborators skillfully produced a strange alternative history of the war years that is both shocking and grimly fascinating.« less
"I was only 7 years old when the Germans occupied my city in 1940, but I remember many of the events depicted in this documentary. This film is great, especially for those interested in the history of France during the war years, and a reminder of what it was like for those who were there."
Insight into fascist politics.
D. Diebel | Fair Oaks, Ca. USA | 07/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone interested in the history and development of fascist and national socialism should watch this film. It presents various aspects of the fascist ideology on class, culture, "nation," and of course shows the prevasive anti-Semitism, anti-Bolshevism and racism of fascism. The Vichy fascists used anti-communism and anti-Semitism to play upon the fears of its middle class supporters in order to consolidate its position. It viewed its nation-selling to the Germans as a "holy war" against Jews, America and communism. Also presented in this film is the politics of the radical right-wing fascist politician Jacques Doriot, the role of the French LVF "volunteers" in the axis front lines against the Red Army, and the campaigns encouraging youth to "volunteer" to work in the Nazis munitions factories. The patriotic partisans are portrayed as traitorous "terrorists" against the conservative Vichy government."
German and its French ally's propaganda against the Allies
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film for extra credit for a college French class. It was wonderful to see so much old news footage and speeches from the 1940s in Europe. It was interesting to see how successfully the Nazis and their French collaborators (some of the French) manipulated their own peoples into thinking a unified Europe under Germany was the only answer. That is all this film is: a collection of newsreels and speeches given by both French and Germans with an English subtitle. Yet it is a wonderfully put together 'documentary'."
Great film for French class
Guy Dayen | Milwaukee, Wisconsin United States | 05/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great video to show in advanced or AP French classes. It helps students better understand what life was like under Nazi occupation in France, and it affords a glimpse into everyday French life as it was in the 1940's.
The only problem I encountered with this video was that the audio track was malfunctionning - there was such an echo at times that it was impossible to understand what was being said - I had to return my copy of the video because of that. But I was so impressed with the film that I'll reorder another copy, and hope that it was just a problem with that particular videocassette that I had.I would recommend this film to anyone interested in French life, in WWII historical data or in Nazi occupation of France."
Vichy France - Nationalist Socialist wanna be
Utah Blaine | Somewhere on Trexalon in District 268 | 12/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film is a collection of short clips (taken from newsreels, propaganda films, and mainstream movies) made by/for/about the Vichy government from 1940 until the liberation of Paris in 1944. This is a modern (1993) attempt to paint a picture of the Vichy government that they may have painted of themselves. I found this to be a fascinating window into how the Vichy government viewed themselves. The style of the film is, in many ways, similar to `Triumph of the Will'. There are fiery speechs about duty, honor, hard work, basic/traditional values, sacrifice, etc. There is clearly some effort to create a personality cult around Petain as well. An effort was apparently made to place Petain above petty political machinations of individual parties (i.e. he was above partisan politics and only represents France's interests). Complex issues of the day are framed very simply, with an `us-versus-them' dogma. Many of the clips are blatant racist, anti-Semitic propaganda (i.e. during discussion of the `Jewish Question' there is video of rats coming out of a sewer). There is also a great emphasis on the energy of the youth, how they will be the saviors of the future. One thing I found particularly interesting about this film was the repeated line of argument taken by Petain and the other Vichy functionnaires that France will suffer less pain by siding with Germany than against, so France should work with them. Finally, I found it interesting how, as the war progressed, the justifications of the Vichy regime to support Germany became progressively more ridiculous.
The place in history for the Vichy regime is still a hotly disputed subject several generations after the war. This film certainly does not explore many of the moral ambiguities of the Vichy era, it paints the Vichyites simply as Nazis. I give it four stars simply because it is a propaganda film and there is only so much to be learned from this type of film. I am not an expert on the Vichy era, but this film left me with more questions than answers (perhaps this was the point of the film?). The film itself is fast paced and the various clips are seamless woven together. There is some English commentary, but most of the discussion is French with English subtitles. Overall, a good inside into Vichy France and highly recommended for anyone interested in WWII or French History in general. Finally, if you are looking for a good (French) film that actually explores some of the complexities of the occupation check out the film `Uranus'."