Guédiguian’s L'Armée du crime looks at Resistance
by Fabien Lemercier
31/03/2008 - Robert Guédiguian’s latest film, the thriller Lady Jane [trailer] – which was unveiled in competition at Berlin – will be released in French theatres on April 9. Meanwhile, the director is already working on his 16th feature, L'Armée du crime (“Army of Crime”), which will centre on the Resistance movement against the Nazis and begin shooting in June.
The cast includes Simon Abkarian, Virginie Ledoyen, Louis Garrel, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Lola Naymark and Robinson Stévenin. The director’s usual collaborators (Ariane Ascaride, Jean-Pierre Darroussin) will play supporting roles .
Co-written by Gilles Taurand (who also co-wrote Guédiguian’s The Last Mitterrand) and Serge Le Péron (I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed), L'Armée du crime retraces the epic story of the Parisian Resistance fighters of the FTP-MOI (Francs-tireurs and Partisans – Immigrant Workers).
Led by Missak Manouchian (to be played by Abkarian), a worker and poet of Armenian origin, the group carried out around thirty operations against the Nazis between August and November 1943. Handed over to the Germans by the French police, 23 members of the Manouchian group were executed and the Nazis tried to use their foreign roots (Spanish, Italian, Eastern European Jews) in a propaganda campaign against immigrants in Paris in spring 1944, putting up their Red Poster that bore the words "Manouchian, Armenian, gang leader, 56 attacks, 150 killed, 600 injured".
But the propaganda had the opposite effect and the members of the network became martyrs of the Resistance movement. The episode inspired a poem by Aragon which was adapted into a song by Léo Ferré. Frank Cassenti’s 1976 film The Red Poster is also based on the events.
Produced by Agat Films & Cie, L'Armée du crime is Guédiguian’s first period project.
Shooting will take place in Paris from mid-June to mid-September. Its €9.2m budget includes pre-sales and co-production support from France 3 Cinéma and pre-sales from Canal + and Ciné Cinéma.
Domestic distribution and sales will be handled by StudioCanal.
(Translated from French)