Director: Marcel Ophuls
134 mins, Switzerland-USA, 1972, 35mm
This film screened on Tuesday 30th April 2019.
At first glance, A Sense of Loss may seem like a conventional talking-head documentary exploration of Northern Ireland in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday. However, whereas the talking-head format is typically used as a way of filling out a linear narrative line, German-born documentarian Marcel Ophuls’s exhaustive approach seems genuinely investigative. Ophuls would begin with a bombing or shooting,
question everyone involved, and gradually draw out the historical and ideological causes.
Over 40 interviews feature, with everyone from victims’ families and internees, to Bernadette Devlin and Ian Paisley. Each speaks at length, but is also challenged thoroughly, with Ophuls often presenting someone with opposing views from another interview and intercutting the results.