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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
Powerful movie-making and heart-wrenching storytelling.
The subject matter of some films is so serious that it makes it difficult to assess the work in purely cinematic terms. This is especially true of real-life events that raise moral issues and there can be no bigger instance than that of the Holocaust which is every second of "In Darkness". It tells a story that would be literally incredible if it was not true: how a dissolute Polish sewer worker called Leopold Socha saved the lives of a dozen Jews by hiding them underground for months. This happened in what was during the Second World War the Polish town of Lwów and today is the Ukrainian town of Lviv. In 1978, Socha and his wife were awarded the title "Righteous among the Nations" by Yad Vashem in Israel.
The film is the work of Polish female director Agnieszka Holland and it is a Polish, German and Canadian co-production with a screenplay by Canadian writer David F. Shamoon. In any country, the film will have some subtitles, because the dialogue involves Polish, Ukrainian, Yiddish and German, and of course in English-speaking nations the whole thing is sub-titled which will limit its appeal to many, but it really is a work worth watching. Holland effectively conveys the paralysing fear and utter squalor of life in the sewers and Robert Wieckiewicz as Socha - like the other actors - shows how the unbearable stresses of such situations make people behave in ways, both good and bad, which are out of character.
"In Darkness" does not have the narrative drive and clear characterisation of "Schindler's List" but, like Spielberg's film, it is powerful movie-making and heart-wrenching storytelling.
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