The phrase “army of crime”, says Wiki, refers to the caption on the historical Affiche Rouge propaganda poster, in which the Nazis sought to present prominent resistance fighters as criminals. The caption read “Liberators? Liberation by the army of crime”.
What’s also missing here–and happily so–is the star power and oversized scale of most Holocaust films (the most recent example being Tom Cruise in “Valkyrie”). Obviously working on a very limited budget, Guediguian keeps his camera focused on interiors, street corners, and nondescript alleyways, to the extent that one barely realizes that one is in Paris. But this too paradoxically adds to the novelty and believability of the film.
The film has received basically positive reviews, with reservations here and there and dwells on the fact that the resistance was by no means unified across the land, was not universally supported and at times even had to target French people themselves, particularly in Vichy.
One side issue is Virginie Ledoyen.
Ledoyen plays Melinee, the wife of exiled Armenian poet Missak Manouchian (Simon Abkarian) who reluctantly takes charge of a group of young guerrilla fighters, some of them barely out of their teens. They assassinate Nazis and their collaborators in the streets, until they are themselves caught and executed in 1944.
[Is this] Ledoyen’s second chance [at the big time]?
I wonder if it has ever crossed some writers’ minds that she might not have wanted the “Hollywood crossover”. French and even Russians have been known to turn up their noses at the glitz and stagey nature of the big time – Oksana Akinshina, of Lilya4ever and The Bourne Supremacy was a case in point.
Down for countless interviews and the constant pressure of the press to get her gear off, she reacted against it and when one journo threw up his arms and asked whether she wanted to make it big or not, she said she preferred her friends and her own life.
It’s possible Virginie Ledoyen has done quite nicely, thanks, in her native France – she secured a L’Oreal deal and things were going well. ES touched on maybe the real reason why she did not “go Hollywood”:
After The Beach, Virginie was offered a lot of starlet roles but she chose a more intellectual path.
It’s not that she’s averse to nudity or sex scenes and she’s been called opportunistic but the roles she was prepared to accept did not portray her as a bimbo. She is flattered by comparison to Isabelle Huppart and takes herself seriously, not unlike Jodie Foster who also refused to play the Hollywood game.
So here’s a serious film and a serious role. What will it do for her career? Will the film sweep the world itself?