Resistance (2020) Film 4, written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz
Posted by celticman on Mon, 02 Oct 2023
Jonathan Jakubowicz’s hagiography of Marcel Marceau (Jesse Eisenberg) begins in pre-war Nazi German of 1938. Elsbeth (Bella Ramsey) watches her dad and mum being arrested, beaten and shot. Their crime was being Jewish. It ends post-war in Nuremberg. General Patton (Ed Harris) asks ‘what is courage?’ and relates it not to a Rudyard Kipling like heroics, but being able to hang on, see things out. He introduces a war hero to watching American troops, his liaison officer Marcel Mangel, who’d helped save hundreds of Jewish kids from the Nazis by taking them into Switzerland.
I’d heard of Marcel Marceau and was aware he was a mime artist. I didn’t know he was Jewish, lived in Strasbourg, spoke German and French and perfect English with an understated American accent.
Klaus Barbie (Matthias Schweighöfer) plays Marceau’s nemesis. A straightforward good versus evil. Barbie also speaks with an American accent, but more clipped, because he’s German. He’s suitably evil. Not even Trump could trump him. Able to shoot like William Tell, but with a handgun, splattering thick heads of those enemies of the state that refuse to divulge what he wants to know. Even though he’s head of the SS, he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty and carrying out torture, but his uniform never gets blood splattered or dirty. Even the villains are handsome in Barbie land.
Emma (Clémence Poésy) is the love interest. She looked like a Barbie model, but falls into the hands of Barbie. Klaus, that is, not Ken. She escapes with her life. Barbie skins her equally beautiful sister. She has to watch, but refuses to speak. She tries to kill herself when released. A lesson to others but Marcel saves her, of course. They’re kinda engaged and kinda in love. Not even a speeding train can get between them.
Klaus Barbie has to have a face-off with Marcel. It happens on a train to the Swiss border, while the Jewish kids, dressed as French scouts, sing Ave Maria with an American and French jangly accent. Marcel wears the tie-pin which identifies him a collaborator to those in authority. There’s no greater authority than Klaus. He confides to Marcel that he too has a daughter, a baby really, and asks his advice about bringing her up to sing in Americanese. Marcel mimes concern. The toilet door opens and Emma nearly gives the game away. But, of course, Klaus doesn’t notice, he’s too busy being suitably evil.
We know they escape. We are informed around 1.5 million children were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators. One million of them Jewish. No joke about that. The Swiss didn’t want them. America had shut its borders, as had all other major countries, including those fighting as Allies. I guess today we’d call them refugees or economic migrants. Marcel Mangel is an abject lesson for those that mime concern. Our world’s borders are shut to poor people of any nationality. The world is awash with morons’ morons. Klaus Barbie’s ideological clones prospered and multiplied. They wrap themselves ever more tightly in the flag of nationalism and the straightjacket of racial purity. We like to put evil safely in the past. Resistance?