Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nazis in the Valley: Resistance

"After the failure of D-Day, the Germans have invaded England"

That bold bit of revisionist fantasy sets off a melancholy, restrained yet strangely irresistible cinematic story. The year 1944 finds the Germans ensconced in Wales, looking to deliver the death-blow to Allied forces. 
Or are they? In the desolate, remote yet starkly beautiful Olchon valley, in Wales (or Hertfordshire), a Nazi squad led by Albrecht (the steely yet muddled Tom Wlaschiha) is playing a tricky balancing game of ingratiating himself to the local townswomen - whose husbands have left them to join the resistance movement of the title, and keeping a lid on the "collaboration" lest the vicious Gestapo get wind and wipe them all out. There's also a supposedly valuable map hidden in a cave, and a local sniper who's entertaining his own doubts. 

Tom begins to fall in love with Sarah (Andrea Riseborough), the quietly desperate farmer's wife, the women contribute civilian clothing - their husbands' - to the conquerors and there is a quietly riveting scene at a county horse and livestock show, only this one is complete with Nazi symbols, staff cars and German officers.

Months pass, with little respite from the bleakness, but all the while, the hope of the women, especially Sarah, of being reunited with their spouses (and, supposedly, of defeating the invaders) is being subtly pitted against the squad's fears of discovery. 

A war story with little (but effectively staged) violence, and a love story with no physical congress between the "lovers" Resistance is the kind of film that falls between the Hollywood cracks, but one which is worth picking up.

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