Paris, the night of November 11th, 1940 (Armistice Day). LILI, 17, and CHRISTINA, 24, place a spray of flowers at the foot of Clemenceau's statue. Pursued by French police, Lili is caught, while Christina manages to get away.
Bethune, Pas-de-Calais region: As she drives a van toward Paris, SYLVETTE LELEU, 30s, and THE KID, 17, are busy planning the escape from France of three British aviators.
Back in Paris, the climate is electric. Many are the college and high school students who, despite the German authorities' strict prohibition, have taken to the streets to demonstrate their opposition to the occupant. Finally released by the French police, Lili heads for the Musée de l'Homme museum, where she works as a typist for the ethnologist BORIS VILDE, an attractive Russian in his 30s, also known in the Resistance circles as Monsieur Jacques. Boris and the museum's director PAUL RIVET, 60, along with the attorneys NORDMANN and WEIL-CURIEL (both in their 30s), the librarian YVONNE ODON, the historian AGNES HUMBERT and the anthropologist LEWITSKI, form the Musée de l'Homme resistance network. Together, they are actively preparing the next issue of the rebel newspaper Résistance.
Once they've reached Paris, Sylvette and The Kid drive the aviators to a secure location. One of them is dropped off at a dispensary, another is taken to the home of The Contessa, an elegant woman in her forties, and the third is hidden by PAULETTE, the kindly madam of a brothel.
That evening, as she exits the Musée de l'Homme, Lili runs into a group of youths who are being chased by the Germans. Among them, she meets CLAUDE LALET (20) and his fiancée NINETTE, as well as the fearless JEANNOT (15). It's almost curfew and Lili doesn't have the time to get home. She follows the small group to the home of their friends ANDRÉ and BERNARD KIRCHEN (15 and 17), who live with their Jewish Rumanian parents, Mr. and Mrs. KIRCHEN. Lili spends the night there with her new friends. Jeannot talks to her about his determination to get to London.
Next morning, in a Parisian café, Sylvette writes her children, whom she hasn't seen in a long while… to tell them their father has died. She sends The Kid to the home of The Contessa, where he is to meet with Monsieur Jacques. Meanwhile, the French police burst into the Kirchen home and arrest Bernard, accused of having distributed "Communist" tracts. Claude insults them by calling them collaborators and is also booked. Shocked, Lili joins Boris at The Contessa's, where counterfeit papers are being manufactured for the three British aviators. In four days, they are to cross the demarcation line via Vierzon, in Southwest France. From there, they will head to Spain, Portugal and London. The only thing missing is someone to accompany them. Lili volunteers. That's when The Kid arrives at The Contessa's and meets Boris.
Finally back home, a modest garret she shares with her roommate Cristina, Lili gets a visit from her parents who, having found out their daughter has been involved in "communist" marches, want to take her back to Nice, in the South of France. Lili refuses. Powerless to change her mind, Lili's parents leave.
Next day, on the train to Vierzon, as she escorts the three British aviators (now disguised as civilians), Lili encounters Jeannot, who is as determined as ever to get to London. Lili and the three Englishmen reach Vierzon, where they are hidden by an abbot, who takes them to the banks of the river Cher the very next day. From there, a smuggler leads them to the Free Zone. Lili returns to Paris.
Paris. At the Musée de l'Homme museum, Rivet, Boris, Weil-Curiel and Nordmann are busy printing the very first issue of Résistance, "it may be small but it carries huge hope!" Rivet finds out that the Vichy government has removed him from his position, which means the group will have to find a new location and a new press to print their paper. The Kid heads to Le Fer à Cheval (The Horseshoe), a friendly bistro managed by Mrs. ELEK (40s, mother to young TOMMY). This is where Cristina writes Unzer Wort, a Yiddish resistance paper. There, The Kid offers Lili a mission, handed down by Boris. She immediately accepts.
In her Bethune garage, Sylvette is about to drive four new escaped Britons to Paris, when she learns that the German authorities have revoked her Ausweis, the necessary authorization to drive by night. The Kid and Lili get to her, carrying a suitcase filled with copies of Résistance. Sylvette's new mission: distribute them throughout the North.
Back in Paris, in the Santé penitentiary, André Kirchen and his mother visit Bernard, who is being detained in excruciating conditions. Mrs. Kirchen lets her tears flow, while André loudly expresses his revolt. As they exit, they run into Ninette, who has come to see her fiancé Claude, also incarcerated. The two have decided to get married. Meanwhile, Lili and The Kid slip leaflets in a building's mailboxes. An infuriated homeowner catches Lili and pushes her down over a banister. Paralyzed by vertigo, Lili is trapped. The Kid rushes to her rescue and manages to set her free. The two of them run off.
It's Christmas Eve. Boris' wife, IRENE, who seems to know nothing of her husband's underground activities, is in need of more food vouchers. Meanwhile, Boris brings The Contessa a piece of good news: he has located another printing press and the second issue of Résistance will soon come out! Christmas night. Despite the restrictions, a festively dressed Boris has prepared a fine meal for his wife and guests, Lili and The Kid. Irene starts to suspect her husband's illegal activities… She gives The Kid a pair of earrings, so he can give Lili a present. Lili is deeply moved. She wears one on her ear and gives the other to The Kid.
Next day, Boris, Weil-Curiel and Nordmann meet at an abandoned flight club in Aubervilliers, managed by ALBERT GAVEAU (30s). This is where they will print the next issue of Résistance. But none of them suspect that they are being watched from a car parked nearby. Inside, are three Gestapo agents. "I want them all" orders Commander DOERING. The sting operation is scheduled for the next day.