"The film doesn't show France the way it was, but rather the way Pétain and the Vichy government wanted it to be seen".This sentence sets the tone of "L'Oeil de Vichy", making its message clear : the film offers a non-judgmental description of a period of french history that many people in France still find hard to digest. The filmmakers' overriding goal was to present irrefutable research and visual documentation. This "voyage" to the heart of the collaborationist government never wanders far from the regime's crimes - the film immortalizes scenes of daily life that provide demonstrable proof of Vichy's lies. The straightforward juxtaposition of newsreal images with true facts suffices to explain how France was governed from 1940 to 1944, and who bears the real guilt.
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From Vincent Canby of "The New York Times":
“The Chabrol film is something else: a documentary composed almost entirely of cheery newsreels and propaganda films turned out in France during the occupation. The film has been criticized for not showing what was really going on at the time the newsreels and propaganda films were made, though Mr. Chabrol's own voice-over narration bridges most of those gaps.”
From "TV Guide":
“This documentary from director Claude Chabrol demonstrates how the old-fashioned compilation can still have a dramatic impact when skillfully edited with a carefully crafted narration. Using Vichy's own newsreels and songs, The Eye of Vichy shows the blend of opportunism and native fascism that made up the collaborationist government, undercut by brief references to the items not caught by official cameramen at staged events."