From Nazi criminals to the Vietnam war, Marcel Ophuls’ documentary films tackle some of the most difficult themes of the 20th century.
Mr. Ophuls, whose father, the German-Jewish filmmaker Max Ophüls, made movies about life and love, once said it would have been nice to have made some comedies.
There is little, if any, humor in many of the movies he has made. They reflect the turbulence of wars and their aftermath in the second half of the previous century.
His most critically acclaimed films include “The Harvest of My Lai” about the Viet Nam war, “November Days” about the fall of the Berlin wall “The Troubles We’ve Seen” about war reporters.
Mr. Ophuls was born in Frankfurt and raised in Berlin. After the burning of the Reichstag in 1933, his family moved to Paris and then to Los Angeles. His father urged him to read Goethe to retain his German identity but at the same time to convert to Catholicism and take American citizenship.