June 15, 2020 by Henry Benjamin
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This is yet another Holocaust movie but its main characters are known to many of us. Marcel Marceau the greatest mime of the last century and Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon.

Jesse Eisenberg as Marcel Marceau

This reviewer grew up with Marcel Marceau’s antics. He only had one speaking part in his career in Mel Brook’s Silent Movie and only had one word to say. But this film shows a side of Marcel Marceau I was not aware of.

Jesse Eisenberg who portrayed Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network takes on the role of Marceau.

Marcel Marceau

Starring with him throughout the movie is Bella Ramsey who played Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones and starred alongside Renee Zellweger in Judy. In Resistance, she plays an adolescent child who witnesses her parent being murdered on Kristallnacht in 1938 in Munich. She is evacuated from Germany with dozens of newly-orphaned children to the French border at Strasbourg.

Marceau’s father has a kosher butcher shop in the city and Marceau uses the shop’s delivery van to help to bring the children to safety in the French city.

At this time Marceau was using his original name, Marceau Mangel. In Strasbourg, he was working without his father’s knowledge as a cabaret performer using his talent as a mime. Marceau was also showing emerging talent as an artist. He used his talent to entertain the children with the watchful eye of his friend Emma [Clemence Poesy]  and his brother Alain [Felix Moeti} and friend Georges [Geza Rohrig].

With the Nazis about to invade France, they transport the children to Limoges and they join the Resistance.

From here, the story unfolds with Emma and Marcel, now Marceau having forged his documents.

The story explores the savage butchery of Klaus Barbie [Matthias Schweighöfer] and the courageous escape of the children across the mountains to Switzerland. from France…a journey which Marcel Marceau repeats many times later.


For Melbourne readers whose family may have known Georges Mora, owner of Café Balzac, Café Mirka and Tolarno Galleries, it may come as a surprise to learn that he was in Marcel Marceau’s resistance group. His son William told me the two resistance fighters had at times dressed as nuns to safeguard the children. They used Marcel’s talent to keep the children entertained, settling them.

The action in the film was almost non-stop. After Elsbeth sees her parents being murdered, the action and time race forward to Nuremberg in 1945 after the war with General Patton [Ed Harris] telling his troops the moving story of a young Frenchman who, with courage and an unshakeable will to survive, performed a true miracle.

Eisenberg’s acting was believable given that he had to mimic the best-known mime artist of recent times.

Director/Writer Jonathan Jakubowicz said: “It is my most personal work by far. Writing the script and realizing this project brought me closer to the memory of my grandparents. Every day, challenges presented that blended the personal with the professional. When we were shooting in Germany, I would see the children acting on set and I couldn’t help but think of the millions of Jewish children that had been murdered in that country. Not a day went by that I didn’t cry – be it with grief or joy. And it wasn’t just me: all the actors had a very personal connection to this era and this story. And you can see that on the screen.”

There are a few implausible scenes in the film, notably the one in which Barbie hears of the escape to Switzerland and mysteriously ends up in the precise part of the mountains where the children are hiding.

All in all, the film presents most of us a side of Marcel Marceau which had been as silent as his speech over the years.


Jonathan Jakubowicz, Director, Writer,

Claudine Jakubowicz, Producer
Dan Maag, Producer
Carlos Garcia de Paredes, Producer Patrick Zorer, Producer

M.I. Littin-Menz, Cinematography Tomas Voth, Production Design Angelo Milli, Composer

Resistance is available to stream on JIFF’s website


Rent it online via:

  • Foxtel Rental Store – until 4 July
  • Randwick Ritz Cinemas
  • Lido Cinemas
  • Classic Elsternwick Cinemas
  • Belgrave Cameo Cinemas

And from June 22 it will be screening in Melbourne at:

  • Lido Cinemas
  • Classic elsternwick Cinemas
  • Belgrave Cameo Cinemas
  • And it will screen at Randwick Ritz as soon as they re-open 

And it will be available to rent on the following VOD platforms from July 29:

  • iTunes
  • Google (Google Play & Youtube)
  • Foxtel
  • Bigpond
  • Fetch
  • Microsoft
  • Sony



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