Robert Guédiguian’s honourable WW2 drama is based on the activities of the Paris-based Manouchian gang, a group of Communist Jewish immigrants who were denounced as the ‘Army Of Crime’ in a Vichy propaganda poster.
Their show trial came just months before liberation and Guédiguian takes his time acquainting us with individual partisans such as an Armenian poet and a champion swimmer.
Though it follows a familiar arc of assassinations and bombings that provoke savage reprisals, it doesn’t flinch from showing the French police’s role in rounding up and deporting Jewish citizens to German death camps.
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