Thursday, 14 June 2012
Real life heroes are ordinary people that make extraordinary decisions in life.
This certainly can be said of the little known ( well in this country anyway) Polish Sewer worker called Leopold Socha. During the German occupation of the city of Lvov during WW2, Socha found by accident a group of Jews hiding away in the sewers beneath the Ghetto. He agreed to help them for a price, eager to supplement his meagre wages, but over their 18 month period of captivity his mission to protect the small group of survivors became less mercenary and much more personal in nature as his risked his life and those of his own wife and child to care for, what he later termed as "his Jews"
For people that have seen Schindler's List, the story of the reluctant hero will be all too familiar, but director Agnieszka Holland in her film In Darkness has closely followed Socha's emotional journey which runs alongside the harrowing subterranean experiences of his eleven charges rather than to concentrate on the German brutalities of the Ghetto Jews.
It is a difficult film at times to watch, especially as we don't have the soaring emotional finale of Spielberg's film to "enjoy" (There is merely an exhausted sense of "getting through things", when the final reel has run)
But, it is a film with some incredible power and dramatic punch all of it's own.
Robert Wieckiewicz gives a convincing and non showy turn as the Leopold, as does Benno Fürmann (right) who plays, Mundek the leader of the Jewish refugees. Both actors give their characters a depth and believability without resorting to the tried and tested bouts of emotional romping.
A moving, atmospheric and worthy drama