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ⓘ In Darkness (2011 film)




In Darkness (2011 film)
                                     

ⓘ In Darkness (2011 film)

In Darkness is a 2011 Polish drama film written by David F. Shamoon and directed by Agnieszka Holland. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.

Based on true events during German occupation of Poland, the film tells about Leopold Socha, a sewer worker in the Polish city of Lwow. He used his knowledge of the citys sewer system to shelter a group of Jews who had escaped from the Lwow Ghetto during the Holocaust in Poland.

                                     

1. Plot

In Darkness is a dramatization of a rescue of Jewish refugees during World War II in the German-occupied city Lwow Lemberg in German, Lviv in Ukrainian. For over a year, a Polish Catholic sewer maintenance worker and burglar, Leopold Socha along with his friend and co-worker Szczepek Wroblewski, hid and cared for a group of Polish Jews who had escaped the massacres and deportations during the liquidation of the Lwow Ghetto. At first the men demand daily payment for their help but they continue to aid the group long after the Jews money has run out and aiding them had become ever more dangerous. The Jewish ghetto had been established in 1941 and the Nazis decided to liquidate it in June 1943. The Soviets took over Lwow city in July 1944, by which point Sochas band made up 10 of the fewer than 1.000 surviving Jews in the city. Sochas and Wroblewskis actions and those of their wives led to their recognition as Righteous Among the Nations recipients.

                                     

2. Cast

  • Piotr Glowacki as Jacek Frenkiel
  • Agnieszka Grochowska as Klara Keller
  • Ida Lozinska as Rachela Grossman
  • Maria Schrader as Paulina Chiger
  • Laura Lo Zito as Irena
  • Andrzej Mastalerz as Sawicki
  • Frank Kobe as Gustav Wilhaus
  • Jerzy Walczak as Jakob Berestycki
  • Julia Kijowska as Chaja
  • Zofia Pieczynska as Stefcia Socha
  • Robert Wieckiewicz as Leopold Socha
  • Alexander Levit as Kovalev
  • Krzysztof Skonieczny as Szczepek Wroblewski
  • Michal Zurawski as Bortnik
  • Etel Szyc as Szona Grossman
  • Marcin Bosak as Janek Weiss
  • Benno Furmann as Mundek Margulies
  • Kinga Preis as Wanda Socha
  • Herbert Knaup as Ignacy Chiger
                                     

3. Production and release

Dedicated to Marek Edelman, the film is a Polish-German-Canadian coproduction, with a screenplay by Canadian writer David F. Shamoon. In Darkness is based on the book In the Sewers of Lvov 1990 by Robert Marshall. The last survivor of the group, Krystyna Chiger, published a memoir of her experience, The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocausts Shadow 2008. It was not a source for the film, as Holland was unaware of the book prior to the films release This was the first full-length film shown at the 23rd Polish Film Festival in America in Chicago on the Opening Night Gala.

                                     

4. Reception

As of December 2016, a majority of film critics have given the film a positive review 88% "fresh" at Rotten Tomatoes. Its average Metacritic review score is 74/100.

A review by Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly called it "a harrowing nail-biter of a movie". Ella Taylor of NPR wrote In Darkness "satisfies for the intensity of the performances and for the artful contrasting of life on the teeming streets of Lviv with life and death in the dim, rat-infested sewers", adding that it "is often a thrilling adventure picture - as if Anne Frank had found an Inglourious Basterd to help her make The Great Escape". Ty Burr of The Boston Globe called the film "a harrowing Holocaust tale, but one that speaks to humankinds capacity to endure, to fight on in the face of terrible cruelty", adding that Holland "elicits taut performances from a strong cast". David Denby of The New Yorker called it "the most volatile that Holland has directed. With a distinguished, hardworking cast of German and Polish actors", noting that "honesty is the movies greatest strength". Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said this "harrowing, engrossing, claustrophobic and sometimes literally hard to watch a gripping piece of history and also an exploration into the mysteries of the human soul", and gave it "the highest recommendation".



                                     

4.1. Reception Awards

In Darkness was nominated for the best foreign language film at the 84th Academy Awards. Nominated alongside the official Canadian nominee Monsieur Lazhar, it attracted attention in the country for marking the first time in the history of cinema of Canada that had its two films nominated for the best foreign language film Oscar in the same year. At the International Valladolid Film Festival SEMINCI, Agnieszka Holland won the award for best director. The film garnered several award nominations at the 32nd Genie Awards, including best adapted screenplay for Shamoon. It also received the Grand Prix at the 7th Batumi International Art-house Film Festival.

                                     
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