It is tragic that most of us live in cities where foreign films are rarely shown or featured after the Academy Awards are presented. I have tried and will continue to strive diligently to alter this travesty.
“In Darkness” is an exceptional film (an Academy Award contender) based on a true story which occurred in 1942 in the town of Lvov, Poland. A Polish Catholic sewer worker, “Leopold Socha” and his young friend “Szczepek” conceive a brilliant concept, hiding Jews in the sewers of Lvov, an ingenious plan to supplement their incomes. This is a powerful psychological and transformative study; Socha thinks and treats Jews as less than human; people deserving of their plight; as long as he is paid they are nothing but a commodity. His involvement, at times risking his own life and that of his family’s leads him to self-discovery, as his prejudices disappear he rises to a level of goodness, greatness that he would never have envisioned; ultimately his relationship with the sequestered Jews gifts him dignity and overwhelming strength and courage. His wife “Wanda” also becomes a “convert”.
The movie is assiduous in depicting the deleterious, desultory conditions of life in the sewers: hunger, filth, boredom; rats, initially terrifying, become pets; human nature struggles to prevail: intimacy, holidays, playing children rise above parsimonious hurdles. Desperation, exacerbated by darkness is a key element in the success of this fine film; suffocation is palatable.
Miraculously the “worst of times” can manufacture unlikely heroes; out of grime and detritus, war and destitution blossomed a nonfictional character worthy of the accolades he eventually received; there is special place in the hereafter for Leopold Socha. Generations of Jews dispersed throughout the world, forever in his debt. It is edifying watching a mortal reaching, touching and eventually surpassing the immortals.
FOUR & 1/2 STARS!!!!