A serious conversation that we need to have is whether or not we need more Holocaust movies. Not to sound callous, it just feels like we’re getting to the point where all that is happening is a rehash of the same basic story over and over again, hitting on the same themes, and reiterating the same warnings present in the old classics, like Schindler’s List. I, for one, understand the importance of never forgetting history and our past atrocities as human beings. So, when I saw the poster for Jonathan Jakubowicz’s Resistance, I naturally thought, “oh, another Holocaust movie.” Then I saw the trailer and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
Resistance is not your typical Holocaust movie. It is, in fact, the story of famed mime Marcel Marceau. I’m old enough to know Marceau’s work and seen dozens of performances on television and know actors, mimes, and clowns, who studied under him. But until this point, I never knew he was a member of the French resistance against the Nazis during World War II. Thus the “kidding me” exclamation.
“…Jewish orphans, whose parents were killed by the Germans. Marcel reluctantly decides to help and uses his skills to entertain the children…”
Jesse Eisenberg is Marcel Marceau. Just as the Nazis begin their invasion of northern France, Marcel is performing an homage to Charlie Chaplin at the town’s burlesque club—much to the protest of his hard-working father. Meanwhile, Marcel’s cousin Georges (Géza Röhrig), close friend Sigmund (Édgar Ramírez), and love interest Emma (Clémence Poésy) are in charge of caring for dozens of Jewish orphans, whose parents were killed by the Germans. Marcel reluctantly decides to help and uses his skills to entertain the children and for a moment take their minds off of tragedy.
When Germany takes over all of France, Marcel and friends begin hiding the children in nearby Catholic schools and handing them off to sympathetic families. Being the all-around artist that he is, Marcel learns to forge passports and to pass himself off as non-Jewish by changing his name to Marcel Marceau. Marcel’s growing anger compels him to join the French resistance and thwart the plans of presiding General Klaus Barbie (Matthias Schweighoefer).
"…the story of famed mime Marcel Marceau..."