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Short biography
Joseph Kessel, born in Argentina to a Jewish family, grew up in Russia and France. He served as a pilot in World War I. After the war, he became known known as a hard-drinking, womanizing adventurer. He joined the French Resistance in World War II, and in 1943 produced one of the most famous novels of resistance to the German Occupation, L'Armée des Ombres (Army of Shadows). With his nephew Maurice Druon, he also co-wrote the "Chant des Partisans," the song that became the anthem of the Resistance movement. His 1928 novel Belle de Jour was adapted by Luis Buñuel into a 1967 film of the same name. The Prix Joseph Kessel, established in his memory in 1991, is a prestigious annual French literary award.
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