The heroism of devoting oneself to a movement that is doomed to fail, knowing it will only lead to your own personal demise, believing in the nobility of the wider movement to resist tyranny, occupation, and oppression. Yet, the irony that such resistance can also lead to greater repression.
I wondered what this film may have meant to a 1969 France, and upon looking it up just now discovered that there was quite a bit of controversy surrounding this film. In light of the uprisings of 1968, critics dismissed the film as being too glorifying of Charles de Gaulle. As a result of these bad critics the film was unsuccessful and was not even released in the U.S. (and Britain) for 40 years. It was finally restored in 2006 as Cahiers du Cinema re-reviewed the film (before it had panned the film causing art-film distributors abroad to ignore the film) and made it on numerous top ten lists in 2006.
"Members of the French Resistance work against the Nazis." Starring Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Simone Signoret, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Serge Reggiani, Claude Mann. Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. From France. 1969. 140 mins.