RESISTANCE – Review by Susan Granger

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This is a true story of Holocaust heroism, inspired by the exploits of French mime Marcel Marceau, when a group of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts saved the lives of around 10,000 orphans whose parents were killed by the Nazis during W.W. II.

Before he became famous, Marcel Marceau worked with the French Jewish Resistance. Back in 1938, Marcel Mangel (Jesse Eisenberg) labored in his father’s Strasbourg butcher shop and had a crush on a girl named Emma (Clemence Poesy).

Emma has been working with Marcel’s older brother Alain (Felix Moati) and cousin George (Geza Rohrig) to find homes for 123 Jewish children, just rescued from Germany.

Temporarily sheltered in an improvised orphanage, the traumatized youngsters are enchanted by Marcel’s improvisational clowning and pantomimes as he tries to amuse them, even though Marcel describes himself as “not good with children.”

Then when northern France is occupied by the German army, they flee to Limoges in Vichy, placing the children with sympathetic families and Christian churches there – until they can make their way through the Alps to seek sanctuary in Switzerland.

German brutality is epitomized by sadistic SS Officer Klaus Barbie (Matthias Schweighofer), known as the Butcher of Lyon, who headed the French Gestapo, headquartered at the Hotel Terminus.

Eventually, Marcel Marceau is celebrated by General George S. Patton (Ed Harris) and he was awarded the Wallenberg Medal in 2001.

Working from a disjointed concept that’s reminiscent of Roberto Benigni’s Oscar-winning Life Is Beautiful, Venezuelan-Jewish writer/director Jonathan Jakubowicz (Hands of Stone) drew from research and interviews with Marceau’s first cousin, Georges Loinger, who revealed that Marceau was also an expert forger.

Although Jesse Eisenberg’s mother was a professional clown, his French accent is shaky. Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) is most memorable as the orphan who opens the film.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Resistance is a courageous 6, emphasizing the importance of entertainment in trying times. It’s available on Amazon, Google Play, Apple TV and other streaming platforms.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.