Rewriting History: Welsh Film Resistance Depicts An Alternative WWII

Thomas Storey

The tragedy, bravery and epic drama of World War II has influenced the course of art more than any other modern historical event. However, with so many war stories already written, the Welsh film Resistance (2011) has chosen to explore an alternative ending to this catastrophic time period. Based on the novel of the same name by Owen Sheers and directed by Amit Gupta, we investigate this striking film and its harrowing portrayal of a reality that was narrowly missed.
Resistance takes place in an alternative 1944 in which the Allied invasion was a failure and the German army has occupied much of the British Isles. The film is set in a remote Welsh village where the men have all disappeared into the valleys to join up with the resistance, leaving the women and children to maintain the farms and fend off the German soldiers stationed within the village. Much like Melville’s Army of Shadows and The Battle of Algiers, the film poses questions about the personal costs of resistance and collaboration. The film is funded by the Film Agency for Wales.
Nominated for multiple awards, Resistance garnered a positive response upon its release and was hailed by The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw as a film worthy of ‘cult status’. Bradshaw said that Resistance ‘is an overwhelmingly bleak film, progressing with a dreamlike drift, and the howl of wind is a continuous accompaniment’. It was also praised by Empire Magazine’s Nev Pierce, who said ‘a haunting, elegant film about love, loss and just what we will do to survive’.
Resistance masterfully manipulates history, highlighting a reality that almost came to be. However, while this grand narrative is the initial drawing card for the film, the story’s true strength lies in the personal struggles that the characters face. The devastating effects of war on a nation and on individuals are put side-by-side through this focus and make the film both intellectually and emotionally captivating. The setting of a small Welsh village is another well-crafted metaphor for this exploration of macro verus micro tensions.
Both captivating and thought-provoking, Resistance is a fantastic piece of Welsh cinema.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Edit article