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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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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.
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.Read more ›
Well, fret not. It took the Poles to produce one of the best war movies let alone one that takes a well-known story--the Nazi ghettoization of the Jews in Warsaw and subsequent purge sending them all to the concentration camps...or did they send all? That is what this movie is about--those Jewish survivors and their Polish "helpers" who saved them (at first for profit and only later for humanitarian reasons).
The movie pretty much takes place in the sewers beneath the Warsaw ghetto and city center where the Jews were kept hidden for over a year and a half until the Russians liberated Poland in 1945. The actors are all first rate as is the sets which seem so realistic. The drama is very intense at times and there are some great twists both sad and filled with relief as well.
Finally, the lone extra called "In Light" pairs the director with one of the actual survivors (at that time a young girl and now, of course, a much older woman). This is well worth watching as both speak in English and maybe it's because it's not their native language you'll definitely be even more moved by their conversation. Just bring some Kleenex along for that.
Most recent customer reviews
Fascinating based on true events story of struggle. I personally love that they stuck to the original multiple languages. Read morePublished on Sept. 9 2013 by Ashleyabc
Tragic events and history. Very poor attempt on directors part to make a big screen interpretation. If would not know the WW2 history, movie is hard to follow, multiple languages,... Read morePublished on May 23 2013 by Maciej Krok
Too much gratuitous sex - would have preferred to learn more about survival in the sewers and just how
people were able to stay there so long.
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. Read more