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Hotel Terminus: The Life & Times of Klaus Barbie

5.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From Marcel Ophuls comes this brilliant examination of the Nazi officer Klaus Barbie, tracing his life from his time as Gestape chief during World War II to his trial for crimes against humanity.

Review

Another monumental Ophuls work, HOTEL TERMINUS emerges ultimately not as a study of one person, place or event, but as a contemplation of the human condition. --Vincent Canby, The New York Times

A real-life detective story. Entertaining and engrossing. --Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

Ophuls' film is an attempt to hold on to him [Barbie], to retrieve him from forgetfulness. The light Ophuls shines on his subject fixes him forever in our minds. --Hal Hinson, Washington Post

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Klaus Barbie, Marcel Ophuls, Serge Klarsfeld, Beate Klarsfeld, Jacques Verges
  • Directors: Marcel Ophuls
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Icarus Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 267 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003YKVGMO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,546 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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By Dr. Victor S. Alpher on February 22, 2004
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This film is a great masterpiece. Despite the nominal subject, Klaus Barbie, the "Butcher of Lyons" during the occupation of France by Germany during World War II, it delves deeply into a much broader subject. Master filmmaker Marcel Ophüls, so unpretentiously and with a mastery of English, German, and French, takes us back in time to the days when the Gestapo Headquarters in Paris was at the train station--Hotel Terminus--still standing with its moniker in the 1980s. He follows through interviews with famed French Nazi-hunters the Klarsfelds, to Barbie's bodyguard in South America, to Germans associated with the Germanization of Bolivia...around the globe, the story of the lowly Barbie from childhood to trial as a War Criminal in France in the 1980s is told masterfully--even with an occasional note of sardonic humor. Could it be otherwise?
This is a spellbinding four hour, twenty eight minute documentary, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary film in 1988. Yes, it rings as true 16 years later as it did then, perhaps even more so! It is as timeless a documentary as Leni Riefenstahls "Triumph of the Will" documenting the aspirations of the Third Reich itself. Interlaced with Barbies story, Ophüls hangs out in pool halls with "everyday" Frenchmen, hears their opinions, visits Barbie's childhood home where the high school he attended has no institutional memory of him, to the mountains of Bolivia where even the uniforms of the President and his minions are reminiscent of Hugo Boss's designs of uniforms for the Third Reich...
This is a fascinating trip through the Western World of the 20th century that, in my opinion stands the test of time as one of the best on the personalities of the Third Reich.
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This is one of those documentaries that make history, as few do, because of their interviewing real victims and protagonists of the facts. The facts are basically the Holocaust, the tortures, killings and persecutions of Jews of France by German Nazis and its French anonymous collaborators... everything focused on one person, the notorious Gestapo agent Klaus Barbie.

Remember that 1000 people massacred doesn't reach as much to the heart as one person tortured, with a name and last name to identify. Well this documentary does this job. We, the audience, can hardly appreciate -sitting in the comfort of our free Western societies, decades now away from those terrible times- the value of a document like this one. The film starts at Barbie's birthplace, family circle, etc. and moves, in four hours, to his trial at old age in France. Like a detective story it traces his life through family members, victims, people who met him and people who just might have been his neighbors, knowingly or not. What I mean is, regardless of the film being wonderfully directed and entertaining, this film has a value that makes it priceless. Here is a picture of society, made up of all kinds of people (it is France and Germany, but it is rather about the Homo Sapiens), and it shows how all humans fail to live up to what we expect of others than ourselves. If not guilty of some heinous crime, we might fail because of collaboration; if not by collaboration, then by omission of help; and if not by this, then maybe by throwing the stone at someone whose shoes we are not in. We all fall short.

This documentary is priceless. We are liable to do it again, right here today, in the West. We are already, in fact: don't we ignore the crimes that dictatorial regimes and Muslim loonies perpetrate to thousands every single day, specially to women? We are not the Resistance; we are collaborators.
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Format: DVD
With the recent NYTimes article on Nazis in the US, it seems (always?) the right time to understand that "Germans" are not the problem. The verbs TO LIE, TO DECEIVE can be conjugated in a variety of languages, from German to Spanish, without forgetting French and English.
Worth the time and money investment!
Ranks with "Shoah" and "Night and Fog" as one of the films to watch regarding the relevance of the Holocaust today.
[...]
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By Sully on December 9, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Just a short note. It has taken years for this film to be released on DVD and it might be wise, if you like this film, to go ahead and pick up the companion film, "The Sorrow and the Pity."
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"Hotel Terminus" took the Best Foreign Picture award when it first came out, probably because of its generational impact with the participants alive. It deserves the award and should be viewed by those who want to know about war effects on both sides. I am glad that you can see a French film that utilizes the hotel and other known spots of resistance fighters, some seen in this documentary. One multi-Resistance fighter, Michel Thomas (an alias) seen for a couple minutes late in the documentary has his war story in print ("Test of Courage") and it should be read by others. He's the gentleman who perfected his language theory while working for the Nazis (briefly) then the Italians, then the French teaching himself in 3 weeks to learn the language while escaping death several times. (a protegee, Dustin Hoffman) The other war survivors from both sides tell their stories, sometimes in a surreal fashion. What makes this documentary a bit out-of-date is the numerous stories that have come out from courageous Germans since who risked it all to save Jews inside Germany, which almost makes up for the non-belief of Germans close to the death camps or the many collaborators who paid the ultimate price for their exchange. Again, the U.S. looks the other way about its dirty revelations instead of altering its security policies. What other U.S. leaked breaches of principle will be discovered soon?
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