‘Resistance’ is just the sunny motivational nudge we need

More than a story of survival, ‘Resistance’ is the true-life story of French mime artiste Marcel Marceau who aided the safe passage of thousands of Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Poland

Photo Courtesy: social media
Photo Courtesy: social media

Subhash K Jha

For the most part , this heart-in-the-butter-won’t-melt-in-the-mouth anti-Nazi survival drama about very unsafe Jew children , plays it safe. The screenplay, the drama and suspense (made to make us slither to the edge of our seats) are tailored to tick off the entertainment-with-a-massage boxes.

This is not to say that Resistance is not irresistible. I just couldn’t take take my eyes off from the most uplifting and guileless drama on humanism at the time of abject cruelty(how time flies!) since Life Is Beautiful. This is an unabashed weepy where sequences are designed to make you forget your own confinement when you see little children holed away to escape sure-death.

More than a story of survival, Resistance is the true-life story of French mime artiste Marcel Marceau who aided the safe passage of thousands of Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Poland. It is a story that was aching to be told. Writer-director Jonathan Jakubowicz is childlike in his eagerness to share this amazingly inspiring saga of a man who taught us that art and life are not far removed from one another.

As played by Jesse Eisenberg who made a ‘Mark’ in The Social Network, Marceau is a childlike fantasy weaver. When he makes those traumatized children laugh and smile I felt he was giving civilization the most precious gift for living. Understandably the scenes featuring Eisenberg’s Marceau with the children are the most precious and cherish able.

The kids are heartbreaking in their vulnerability . The camera(done by M.I. Littin-Menz) looks at the children with heart-melting compassion . But I feel the director, so sensitive to the sounds of vulnerable hearts, is way too taken up with whipping up an adventure story in the second-half with Marceau and the kids running to safety across the border to Switzerland while being chased by an evil Nazi general(Matthias Schweighöfer).

There is one specially awkward suspense in a train sequence where the effort to make the audience tense is strenuously selfconscious.And the torture and murder of Jews in an empty swimmingpool suggests a sequel: The Haunted Swimmingpool, perhaps?

Perhaps consciously, Resistance sacrifices subtlety and understatement for broad-stroked melodrama.And that is not such bad thing, as long as the end-product talks and sings to us about the importance of humanism during times of savage cruelty.

At one point a 14-year girl who has seen her parents being murdered by Nazis says, “It is the dead we grieve about when we should actually be sorry for the living.”

Who knows this better than us?

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