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IN DARKNESS tells the true story of Leopold Socha 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). Written by
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The fate of Jews during World War II has seen wide depiction (sometimes too wide, in comparison with many other small nations persecuted and deported) in the movies of noted filmmakers; Agnieszka Holland is no exception here. Based on true events, the film focuses on Leopold Socha, a sewer worker in the then Polish city of Lwów who used his knowledge and of the city's sewer system and inventiveness to shelter a group of Jews escaped from the city ghetto. The script and the events seem logical and realistic, but they are difficult to follow at times as they are happening in dark environment, and faces-names can be easily confused. Perhaps that was the reason that leading actors were no distinctive to me - apart from Benno Fürmann as Mundek perhaps - and the triangle of suffering Jews / unpredictable Poles / sadistic Nazis was often too blunt. The length could have been shorter as well, some protracted scenes neither accentuated the mood nor provided additional value to the course of events.
All in all, W ciemności is good, but, in my opinion, Escape from Sobibor, The Pianist, and Die Fälscher, for example, have more novel approach and different angle to proceed. As for Holland herself, I find her Europa, Europa from 1991 better, i.e. more dynamic and versatile.
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