100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

February 24, 1989 - Image 78

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

1 ENTERTAINMENT

6 FREE BAGELS
NOW AT ALL LOCATIONS!

7 DAYS A WEEK!

Klaus Barbie Documentary
Began As Magazine Series

BAGEL!
D BAGEL!
BUY ONE DOZEN

GET 1/2 DOZEN FREE

MORRIE WARSHAWSKI

Special to The Jewish News

DETROIT
BAGEL FACTORIES

I

Main Office: 641-9188

VAkRA VAZz.
RESTAURANTS 44
C. ?
&
LOUNGE

.. 1.=
1 '

— Fine Northern Italian
and Continental Cuisine s
1st ANNIVERSARY

CELEBRATION
March bth thru March 11th
ILitirhw

25% OFF ALL DINNERS

Sewing Business Lunches
Mindays thru Fridays

HAPPY HOUR
- Mon: Fri. 4-7 p.m.
Y2 OFF All Drinks in Lounge

Private Banquet Room Available
For 25 to 100 People
Entertainment Nightly

645 E. Big Beaver

DINING HOURS

Mon.-Thuis. 11 am-10 pm
Fri. 11 am-10:30 pm
Sat. 5 pm-10:30 pm
Closed Sunday

1 Block West of Rochester

689-6920

Ana 's

I OPEN 7 DAYS

Family Dining

I

27167 GREENFIELD, Just North of 11 Mile

559-8222

DINNER TWO-FOR-ONE

OVER 18 ENTREES SERVED ANY HOUR

American and Lebanese Cuisine • Daily Specials

2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

EARLY BIRD
DINNER SPECIALS

(Except 2 For 1 & Early Bird Specials)

2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

10%
OFF
ANY AGE!

Fine Italian Cuisine

Detroit's Premier
p Supper Club

-

ON JEFFERSON

Also Available For All Festive Occasions
• Indoor Valet Parking • Music! • Elegance!

111

7909 East Jefferson at Van Dyke 331-5450

70

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 1989

n 1983 when Marcel
Ophuls began his re-
search on the trial of Nazi
war criminal Klaus Barbie
("The Butcher of Lyons") he
had in mind only a short
series of articles for The Na-
tion. Five years, $1.6 million,
hundreds of interviews and
thousands of miles later he
gave birth to a 4V2 hour
magnum opus of documen-
tary filmmaking — Hotel Ter-
minus: The Life and Times of
Klaus Barbie.
The film has garnered
critical praise international-
ly for Ophuls, who is best
known for his classic work
The Sorrow and the Pity — an
exploration of collaboration
and resistance in German-
occupied Clermont-Ferrand in
France. Hotel Terminus is an
unrelenting examination of
Klaus Barbie's background as
a child, his activities during
World War II, his life as an
American undercover opera-
tive and then South Ameri-
can businessman after the
war, and his subsequent trial
for war crimes in France.
"I only got into this kind of
filmmaking and this topic by
accident. It was just a series
of assignments and I tried to
cope with them the best I
can," explained - Ophuls
recently in a phone conversa-
tion from his home in Neuil-
ly, France.
Ophuls displays an ex-
cellent command of English
colored by the two other
languages he speaks fluently
-- German and French. This
should come as no surprise
given his background. Ophuls
was born in Frankfurt in
1927 of a Jewish father (the
film director Max Ophuls who
created Lola Montes) and
Catholic mother. He became
a naturalized French citizen
in 1938, and then was raised
in Hollywood when his fami-
ly moved to escape Nazi
persecution during the
French Occupation.
Ophuls culled heavily from
his own childhood when
choosing the music for Hotel
Terminus. He suffused the
film with curiously up-tempo
songs by the Vienna Boys
Choir. "These are songs I
sang in my childhood, Ger-
man folk songs. My own
father comes from the same
background and even the
same region as Barbie's fami-
ly!" Ophuls' fascination with

4

Some have compared Marcel Ophuls' Hotel Terminus film to a detective
novel.

the music lay in the tension
between the purity and in-
nocence of the children's
voices in contrast to the
sophisticated and upbeat
militarism of the times.
Music is only one of many
elements that help make this
documentary entertaining in
a way that will surprise
viewers expecting a more
ponderous or serious ex-
amination of a Nazi war
criminal. Ophuls has much to
say about this aspect of the
film, which some have com-
pared to a "detective novel."
"It was only very late on
that I realized the entertain-
ment aspect of the film was
not sacrilegious at all, and
was probably what would
bring and keep the film alive
. . . I don't adhere to this
business of self-righteousness
in documentaries. It's a form
of filmmaking that very easi-
ly falls into propaganda and
therefore into self-
aggrandizement. That's one
of the reasons black comedy is
used in this film."
As he puts it, "The per-
sonally comic interventions
usually come out of frustra-
tion and anger, and there's
plenty to be angry about in
this film. Even I don't get off
the hook. As the interviewer
I am quite consciously in-
trusive, pushy, angry,
sometimes cruel, sometimes
possibly petty minded, but
not self-indulgent and not ex-
hibitionistic."
Religion plays a minor role
in Ophuls life but he still con-
siders himself a Jewish film-
maker, "in the sense of living
in a century where I and my
fmaily have been involved in
Jewish destiny by birth."
Ophuls admits to no clear
position on the pursuit and
trial of Nazi war criminals

who remain at large. "What
I am convinced about is that
once Barbie was brought back
to France then there was a
moral duty for the trial to
take place. But should all
Nazi war criminals be dealt
with in that way, I don't know.
What I have convictions on is
not forgetting, which isn't the
same thing since trials are
not always the best way of
remembering?'
Barbie's trial occupies the
last portion of the film.
Ophuls calls the event "shat-
tering" and "moving."
Although Ophuls gained ac-
cess to scores of people for in-
terviews, he never managed
to meet Barbie and question
him directly. What would
Ophuls have asked Barbie?
"What I would have asked
him is 'How do you become a
monster?' I have this theory
that in the case of Barbie he
probably wouldn't know hoW
to answer because when you
take that amount of guilt on
you — such a staggering
amount of guilt — something
must happen to your psyche
which completely blocks
whatever the origins are of
how you got into it."
One of his great frustra
tions with the distribution
and marketing of Hotel Ter-
minus has been the indif-
ference of the Jewish com-
munity. "Our problem now is
to overcome the reluctance
people have, paradoxically
and particularly in Jewish
communities, to see another
documentary about Nazis and
Jews."
The entire experience of
making Hotel Terminus has
left Ophuls a more sober man.
"What I have become more
pessimistic about is how peo-
ple adjust to evil. The ease
with which people adapt to it

4

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan