We use cookies for site personalization, analytics and advertising. You can opt out of third party cookies. More info in our privacy policy.   Got it

Film review: Resistance

Film

During World War Two the British government recruited and trained units based in remote areas to resist a German occupation. Resistance opens with the half-dozen men in an isolated Welsh sheep-farming valley taking off in the middle of the night to join their resistance unit. The Wehrmacht have captured Moscow and Leningrad, repulsed the Normandy landings and invaded southern England. Within a few days a German patrol arrives in the Welsh valley and declares it under military control.

Owen Sheers’ original novel shows how the women left behind co-operate. It sensuously communicates what it feels like to work with animals on rough land in all weather. It is sensitive about the women’s personal feelings and awareness of each other – and of the occupying soldiers. Crucially it is through labour, when the soldiers go out to help rescue sheep in a snow blizzard, that the women start to accept the usefulness, and so the presence, of the soldiers.

Sadly, the film mechanically (though Sheers is credited as a co-writer) works through the scenes in the novel, but too often fails to get over the emotional and psychological significance. Little things too betray a failure to engage imaginatively with the situation – clothes are clean and new; a sniper rifle, hidden in a farmyard shit-heap in the book, is conveniently stashed under bedroom floorboards in the film. This is sterilized BBC costume drama.

New Internationalist issue 448 magazine cover This article is from the December 2011 issue of New Internationalist.
You can access the entire archive of over 500 issues with a digital subscription. Subscribe today »

 

Help us produce more like this

Editor Portrait Patreon is a platform that enables us to offer more to our readership. With a new podcast, eBooks, tote bags and magazine subscriptions on offer, as well as early access to video and articles, we’re very excited about our Patreon! If you’re not on board yet then check it out here.

Support us »

Subscribe   Ethical Shop