The Art Of Resistance tells the inspiring and tragic story of how Dutch homosexual painter and writer Willem Arondeus, together with a diverse group of artists, gay men, lesbians and students, carried out one of the most audacious acts of WW2 resistance to save the lives of Jews.
Willem led a spectacular bomb attack on the Population Registry in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam which the Germans were using to identify the forged ID papers given to desperate Jews by the underground.
A man of great compassion and courage, Willem initially acted on his own to help those in danger, using his skills and ingenuity to produce counterfeit documents, run a newspaper calling for non-violent resistance and hide those on the run. But in the face of mounting anti-Semitic persecution, he realised he had to do more and teamed up with a clandestine Resistance group called the Free Artists to destroy the Population Registry.
Willem insisted nobody should be killed in the attack as he did not want to risk reprisals on civilians, so his group, disguised as policemen, overpowered the guards by injecting them with tranquilisers and moving them to safety before planting their bombs. Although the 1943 raid was a success, he and his friends were betrayed and executed.
Willem sacrificed his long-term relationship and his life to save others. However, for decades, his heroism was downplayed because of his sexuality. This film would finally fully acknowledge his bravery.
It portrays a classic fight of good against evil but is distinct from other Holocaust movie narratives in that its protagonist is gay – and so are some of his accomplices - confounding the popular stereotype of homosexuals as supine victims of the Nazis. At the same time, it also confronts the audience with the dilemma of just how far they would go to help others in the face of a brutal oppressor.