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!!!!
I saw the film at the Palm Springs Film Festival in January and it has not yet left me. I was mesmerized for 2 1/2 hours. I thought it was the best foreign film of the year and saddened that it did not win the oscar.
You are right, this is an Oscar worthy movie. Thank you for recommendation.
Keep giving your insights! Thanks, P.