Résistance: an allegory of rebellion against a police state regime

Alex Chauvet, Anna Le Danois, Quentin Foulon, Fabien Glasse, Juliette Jean, Julie Narat, “Résistance” (2016)

Made by student animators, this short video plays like a parable of the French Resistance against Nazi German occupation of France during the 1940s. Three giant cockroaches swagger into a restaurant, expecting to be waited upon by the staff there. The bugs drink up all the hooch and get rip-roaring drunk. One of the bugs is seduced by a young woman in red; she takes him into the theatre next to the restaurant where he is mugged. The bug eventually meets his maker in a most horrifying and graphic way. His companions also get their comeuppance from the restaurant staff.

The animation is completely silent save for the grunts and twitterings of the cockroaches themselves so the plot is entirely driven by the actions of the restaurant staff and the woman. The humans maintain remarkably straight faces, betraying very little emotion, yet their actions betray previous planning and murderous intent towards their oppressors. The underlying theme of rebellion, with the humans overthrowing the giant cockroaches (in a reversal of what we know will come in reality: due to their small size and scurrying behaviour, cockroaches will inherit the earth after humans send themselves into extinction) through careful and subtle planning, is powerful enough that it overcomes any disgust and horror viewers might feel at seeing a bug being killed in an oven and then made to disappear through dismemberment.

Visually the film is quite a treat: the cockroaches are portrayed in all their disgusting and alien detail that hints at the monstrous and corrupt behaviour of the Nazis they represent while the humans are drawn fairly simply and directly. The restaurant and theatre settings are done very well with enough detail to help drive the plot, without competing with the plot itself or the characters.