The French Résistance has had a great influence on literature, particularly in France. A famous example is the poem “Strophes pour se souvenir”, which was written by the communist academic Louis Aragon in 1955 to commemorate the heroism of the Manouchian Group, whose 23 members were shot by the Nazis.
The Résistance is also portrayed in Jean Renoir’s wartime This Land is Mine (1943), which was produced in the USA.
In the immediate post-war years, French cinema produced a number of films that portrayed a France broadly present in the Résistance. The 1946 La Bataille du rail depicted the courageous efforts of French railway workers to sabotage German reinforcement trains, and in the same year Le Père tranquille told the story of a quiet insurance agent secretly involved in the bombing of a factory. Collaborators were hatefully presented as a rare minority, as played by Pierre Brewer in Jéricho (1946) or Serge Reggiani in Les Portes de la nuit (1946), and movements such as the Milice were rarely evoked.
In the 1950s, a less heroic interpretation of the Résistance to the occupation gradually began to emerge. In Claude Autant-Lara’s La Traversée de Paris (1956), the portrayal of the city’s black market and general mediocrity revealed the reality of war-profiteering during the occupation. In the same year, Robert Bresson presented A Man Escaped, in which an imprisoned Résistance activist works with a reformed collaborator inmate to escape. A cautious reappearance of the image of Vichy emerged in Le Passage du Rhin (1960), in which a crowd successively acclaim both Pétain and de Gaulle.
After General de Gaulle’s return to power in 1958, the portrayal of the Résistance returned to its earlier résistancialisme. In this manner, in Is Paris Burning? (1966), “the role of the resistant was revalued according to [de Gaulle’s] political trajectory”. The comic form of films such as La Grande Vadrouille (1966) widened the image of Résistance heroes to average Frenchmen. The most famous and critically acclaimed of all the résistancialisme movies is Army of Shadows (L’Armee des ombres), which was made by the French film-maker Jean-Pierre Melville in 1969. The film was inspired by Joseph Kessel’s 1943 book, as well as Melville’s own experiences, as he had fought in the Résistance and participated in Operation Dragoon. A 1995 television screening of L’Armee des ombres described it as “the best film made about the fighters of the shadows, those anti-heroes.”
The shattering of France’s résistancialisme following the events of May 1968 emerged particularly clearly in French cinema. The candid approach of the 1971 documentary The Sorrow and the Pity pointed the finger on anti-Semitism in France and disputed the official Résistance ideals. Time magazine’s positive review of the film wrote that director Marcel Ophüls “tries to puncture the bourgeois myth—or protectively askew memory—that allows France generally to act as if hardly any Frenchmen collaborated with the Germans.”
Franck Cassenti, with L’Affiche Rouge (1976); Gilson, with La Brigade (1975); and Mosco with the documentary Des terroristes à la retraite addressed foreign resisters of the EGO, who were then relatively unknown. In 1974, Louis Malle’s Lacombe, Lucien caused scandal and polemic because of his absence of moral judgment with regard to the behavior of a collaborator. Malle later portrayed the resistance of Catholic priests who protected Jewish children in his 1987 film Au revoir, les enfants. François Truffaut’s 1980 film Le Dernier Métro was set during the German occupation of Paris and won ten Césars for its story of a theatre production taking place while its Jewish director is concealed by his wife in the theatre’s basement. The 1980s began to portray the resistance of working women, as in Blanche et Marie (1984). Later, Jacques Audiard’s Un héros très discret (1996) told the story of a young man’s traveling to Paris and manufacturing a Résistance past for himself, suggesting that many heroes of the Résistance were imposters. In 1997, Claude Berri produced the biopic Lucie Aubrac based on the life of the Résistance heroine of the same name, which was criticized for its Gaullist portrayal of the Résistance and over-emphasis on the relationship between Aubrac and her husband.
In the 2011 video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, in which a hypothetical World War III is depicted, a French resistance movement is formed to act against Russian occupation. The playable characters of many factions in-game receive assistance from this Resistance . This is in line with previous, World War II-based Call of Duty games, which often featured involvement with the Resistance of that era.
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