Thursday, 14 June 2012

In Darkness

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


  1. There were many heroes that are only now being recognized.

  2. too right Gail
    btw the real Socha and his wife were awarded the title, "Righteous among the Nations", by Yad Vashem in Israel in 1978!

  3. I'm half Jewish so am thankful for people putting themselves on the line for Jews. I wonder how many unsung heroes there are?
    Jane x

  4. Recently we had a real idiot come to our farm to buy some meat. 10 seconds out of his car he's telling me how the Jews killed themselves and other crazy crap. He is the first farm visitor I have ever told to leave and not return.

    A movie to be seen for sure

  5. Sounds moving and definitely worth watching. I assume a box of tissues might be appropriate?

  6. Sounds like a movie hubby and I would like John. Not sure if we'll ever see it playing in many if any theaters here but we may be able to get it on Netflix. I'll watch for it. Thanks for the movie review :) Hope your day is a good one (Thurs) :)

  7. It does sound like something I would like.

  8. You always write such interesting and perceptive reviews, John. This sounds like a film that is definitely worthwhile going to see.

  9. This sounds like my daughter & I should watch this film. She was deeply moved by the book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
    I have visited Ann Franks "house" and been to Yad Vashem - both very emotional experiences.
    The top floor at the National War Museum dedicated to the Holocaust is so powerful that young children are asked not to view.

    Those in denial that it happened need a wake up call.

  10. Penny, yes go and see the movie, it is in some ways "better" than Schindler's list as the Jews in it are portrayed as normal people and not just the "fiddler on the roof" stereotypes we are now almost used to and expecting.

  11. sounds great, thanks for the review John!

  12. Sounds like a very worthwhile're lucky to have the less populist films come your way...

  13. NB
    We have only one " art house cinema " in north Wales...but I don't mind the 20 mile round trip to get there. I do miss Sheffield where we had a whole cinema complex that shows foreign and independent films several times a day...l.l but at least we have something here

  14. Thanks for that John. Because of your review I shall endeavour to see this film when/if it comes to Blogland's "Showroom".


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