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When the French army marched out of Paris on 10 June 1940, few would have considered that their defeat would be so swift that the German Army would be marching through the Parisian streets on 14 June...
Resistance is a six-part, 2016 French historical drama, set in Paris during World War Two and is loosely based on the activities of the Groupe du muse de L’Homme. The television show was directed by Miguel Courtios, David Delirieux and Alain Goldman. The show was written by Dan Franke.
The story follows a group of mainly young adults who feel a compulsion to risk their lives pushing back at the occupying German force. As the viewer this is presented to us through the eyes of seventeen year old Lili Franchet.
Although the characters are fictitious their situation and general story is not. We first encounter Lili (Pauline Burlet), who we will follow throughout the show's six episodes, planting flowers in celebration of the victory in the first world war, an obvious inflammatory action as far as the Germans are concerned. She later is caught up with the anti-German student demonstration, which depicts some of the actual events which occurred on 11 November 1940, when high school adolescents defied a German edict to attend class and instead met at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Pauline Burlet is wonderful in the role, able to show both a vulnerability, knowing that her resistance activities could get her killed, and a powerful courage to stand up, even against her father’s wishes, for the truth she believed in. Amongst her other roles Burlet played the young Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose (2007), she also won the Magritte Award in 2014 for "most promising actress" for The Past (Le Passé). She is ably supported by the talents of Tom Hudson, Jean-Baptiste Lagnie, Jeremie Petrus and Isabelle Nanty.
The show is able to reflect the restrictions of the occupation, the nightly curfew, the rationing which started bad and became increasingly worse. There is also a fairly faithful account of the actions of the resistance groups in Paris putting up posters and producing anti-German propaganda. Now it does not seem much, but back then it could cost you your life.
One of the things which adds to the show's authenticity is the fact that Paris came through the war relatively unscathed. The allies were loathed to bomb and such was the draw of Paris’s beauty that even General von Choltitz, an unrepentant Nazi, refused Hitler’s orders to destroy the city; instead he arranged a truce when the Parisians finally rose up, following the D-Day landings. This means that the show required little in the way of set dressing to faithfully recreate wartime Paris.
The show is presented in the original French, with optional English subtitles. Across the three discs there is nothing in the way of extras. The show is presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. For the most part the cinematography is fine, at times almost filmic, but there is the odd clunky moment.
Overall, a highly enjoyable series, which depicts well the tribulations of living under Nazi occupation.
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