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(For Day 18 of NaPoWriMo, the prompt was to write a poem inspired by one of the chapter titles in Susan G. Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words, and the heading “Controlled Abandon” caught my eye, associating it with any kind of innovation or risk-taking, which can be simply unusual or truly dangerous.)

Upon the walls of cultured art, the few who make the rules
Can mock the fewer down below and designate them fools.
For who but madmen with abandon would attempt to flout
The well-established orthodoxy, confident in clout?
But down below, the darer knows what’s needed to invent,
And every tiny movement made is careful with intent.
The price of forging something new may well survive disdain,
For “madmen” such as these know there is nothing done in vain.

Upon the walls of tyranny, the few who make the rules
Can mock the vulgar down below and designate them fools.
For who but madmen with abandon would resist the State,
Which has the power to enforce its whims without debate?
But down below, the darer knows what’s needed to dissent,
And every tiny movement made is careful with intent.
The price of saving someone else may well result in pain,
But “madmen” such as these know there is nothing done in vain.
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MPA rating:  R (can be intense, but what is actually shown is closer to PG-13)

There are already so many films set in World War II, whether it be on the battlefield or in the Nazi-occupied cities where Jews were threatened, but they never seem to get old. Resistance may fall into the middle pack of such films, but it’s still an excellent period piece/biopic about the early life of Marcel Marceau, who went on to become the world’s most famous mime.

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Jesse Eisenberg might not have been my first choice for the role, but he proves to be a compelling figure as a misunderstood artist moved to action by the plight of displaced Jewish children in France. Likewise, Clémence Poésy and Bella Ramsey deliver affecting performances as Marcel’s love interest and a girl he rescues, respectively, while Matthias Schweighöfer is a terror as notorious Nazi Klaus Barbie. The plotline is not especially original but still packs emotional power and occasional menace, and the way that Marceau’s budding talent as a mime is employed to cheer the children is well executed by Eisenberg.

Mime itself has never been of much interest to me, and the film’s final moments may be underwhelming for luddites like me, but its sincerity and historical basis are nonetheless impressive. Resistance may have underperformed due to its release at the start of the pandemic last March, but it deserves more appreciation.

Rank:  List Runner-Up

© 2021 S.G. Liput
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