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In Darkness

Robert Wieckiewicz , Benno Fürmann , Agnieszka Holland    DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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IN DARKNESS tells the true story of Leopold Soha who risks his own life to save a dozen people from certain death. Initially only interested in his own good, the thief and burglar hides Jewish refugees for 14 months in the sewers of the Nazi-occupied town of Lvov (former Poland).

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Polish Tale of Surviving the Nazi occupation July 18 2012
This is based on the true story of Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz) who during war torn Poland worked as a sewer inspector in the Polish town of Lvov (it is now Ukrainian called Lviv). He supplemented his income by burglarising houses and selling the goods on the black market - this included many former houses of the Jews that had been sent to the ghettos or worse.

Then the Nazis come to take everyone, the Jews have anticipated this and had already seen the sewer as a sort of refuge. Socha and his accomplice have already seen this as a possible way to make money, so they strike a bargain with the Jews that in return for payment that they will be looked after. What started out as a money making scheme soon becomes something more for Socha as he sees the terrible events unfold as the war staggers to its ultimate conclusion. We also get to see the brutal effects of even `casual collaboration' and the arbitrary `justice' meted out by the occupiers.

This is a Polish, German and Canadian co production and is in Polish, German, Yiddish and Ukrainian so obviously is sub titled, but this should not put you off. All of the performances are compelling and the tension and fear is palpable through out. The creeping madness of being shut in a sewer for months is not covered up and the filth is omnipresent. One can only begin to imagine how horrific it must have been. Socha and his family were named as "Righteous among the Nations" by Yad Vashem in Israel for their efforts.

This is not a war film in the normal sense but is a tale of true heroism and suffering that is caused by war and is a brilliant compliment to the many new films that are being made about the struggles of ordinary people caught up in a war they did not understand and showing extraordinary ability to overcome the situations they are forced in - highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars doesn't spare us the brutal events July 16 2012
The challenges that we face in life today are put into perspective when compared to what people endured during World War II. Stories about the holocaust are painful yet amazing in the sense that they shows us the strength in people that has no rival. In Darkness (W ciemnosci), directed by Agnieszka Holland, is the true story of a sewer worker that saves the lives of a group of Jews. Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz) is a Pole living in Lwow (now called Lviv and part of Ukraine) in Nazi occupied Poland. He doesn't go out of his way to become a hero, but rather he stumbles on the opportunity to make money hiding Jews in the sewers he knows so well.

Lwow has a rich history for both Poles and Jews that spans many centuries (while today both of these groups are only small minorities), with a mix of ethnicities, including Ukrainians, coexisting peacefully before the war. With the conflict running its course, self-interest and survival are the two primary motivations most people are left with. Leopold risks not only his own life, but also that of his entire family, by assisting the survival of anyone Jewish. The Germans meted out a quick punishment of death to the Poles who tired any heroics. Both the group of Jews and Leopold have some reservations and distrust in each other, but as time goes on, their business arrangement turns into much more.

In Darkness doesn't spare us the brutal events of war and will be quite shocking for some viewers. I would say the film is inappropriate for children for a number of reasons and the squeamish may also find it hard to watch. However, the violence isn't gratuitous, as it only adds to what really went on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great story Sept. 9 2013
Fascinating based on true events story of struggle. I personally love that they stuck to the original multiple languages. Easy to follow subtitled dialog (I am not a fan of subtitles but was so pulled into the movie I forgot I was even reading)
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5.0 out of 5 stars The horrors of WWII Dec 14 2012
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
What a fascinating movie.
It captures the essence of what it was like to hide for your life and now that you have to depend on other people so that you can survive.
Excellent acting.
Really shows life as it was lived in such horrible conditions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Change of Heart Oct. 20 2012
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Here is another spectacular European film based on an actual war story coming out of the Jewish ghettos of war-torn Poland. This particular grim tale brings together the most unlikely of people - a group of Jews looking for refuge from the Nazis and an anti-Semitic Polish underground leader named Socha whose only ambition is to stay alive by exploiting the misery of others. The film shows that anti-semitism was not restricted to the Nazis but involved many Polish people as well. Throughout the production, there is a very visceral tension between these two parties as they negotiate the price of survival. For fourteen months the Jews are lodged in the sewers of Lvov while Socha and his wife extort from them all their earthly possessions. During this terrible time, a miracle starts to happen in Socha's life. He becomes transformed as the Jews' Moses. In the dreary, oppressive darkness of the sewers Socha turns from being a thief of their possessions to being a humanitarian who saves them from death. The viewer is led to believe that this man has been won over by the courage and determination of these helpless refugees to survive their seemingly hopeless plight.
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