Search results for ‘in Darkness’

In Darkness

December 8th, 2011 — 09:13 am


In Darkness- sp-  ( English subtitles ) If you are ready, willing and able to handle another heavy duty holocaust movie, this  one may be right for you. 80% of the film takes place in the dark sewers underneath the Polish ghetto of the city of Lvov, that is being wiped out by the Nazis. You will need to endure the pain and suffering that the men, women and children are going through for 2 hours and 25 minutes although that is nothing compared to the 14 months which was the duration for the Jews there in reality. Polish movie director and sometimes US television director ( episodes of The Wire and Treme) Agnieszka Holland who was guest at the  preview screening,  latched on to this true story which in total took eight years to make it to the screen from a book by one of the survivors. She was reluctant to cut the length of film because she wanted the audience to experience a sense of the prolonged hardship that these people were going through.  Although gripping and suspenseful, we were aware that we were being shown all the expected episodes of starving people hiding in the sewers, rats running around, everyone hungry and thirsty, children trying to play their chidhood games, some people being claustrophobic, almost being discovered by the Nazis , trying to celebrate the Jewish holidays, and a baby being born in these circumstances. All the actors were  excellent and apparently are well known stars in their own country. Of particular note is Robert Wieckiewicz who plays the man who after being not such a nice guy turns out to a “righteous gentile.” Observing the changes that he undergoes in response to the heroism of the people he is hiding is the highlight of this movie. The film is being  nominated for an Oscar  as the Polish entry for best foreign film. It has already won an award at the Telluride Film Festival and will open in the US in January. It is not an easy movie to watch but we came away from it being glad it was made and that it will be there to be shown to future generations. (2011)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, History

Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness

August 21st, 2011 — 06:53 am


Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness-rm – If you only knew that Solomon Rabinowitz alias Sholem Aleichem had originated the story of Fiddler on the Roof, “that would have been enough.” However this documentary attempts to show how this creative Jewish writer born in Russia in 1860 singularly chose to use Yiddish, which was basically a spoken language of the shtetl and make it a literary form to educate and entertain thousands if not millions of people in Europe and the new world during most of his life time (and beyond). Yiddish was the special language of the Jews consisting of mixture of German, Russian, Hebrew and probably a lot more. It allowed more expression of feelings, especially humor and it was experienced as the language of the people. This fact plus the insight into the struggles and emotions of the people about whom Shloem Aleichem chose to write in a very prolific manner, made his writing very popular. This was the period of time when people living in their small enclaves began to migrate to the cities as well as across the ocean to America. When he died in 1916 there were more than 100,000 people at his funeral in New York which not only was viewed as a tribute to him but as a demonstration of the emerging Jewish culture in the new world.  This documentary while emphasizing his place as a writer and as a Jewish icon also provides some insight into the ups and downs of his life style, which included being a stock market speculator who ultimately failed in his financial dealings. It shows somewhat of a picture of his family life as a dedicated parent although it doesn’t say much about his wife and his marriage.  The visual story is made mostly with archived photos of the people of his time including what seemed to be a repetitive photo of him along with a few video clips- the most riveting being the one from Fiddler. This is an enlightening view of a person about whom so many of us have heard, but don’t really know. If it has not been done yet, a fictionalized version of this story with the details flushed out even more with some imagination, if necessary, will make a fantastic feature film. You can start speculating on who should play the lead. (2011)  

Comment » | 3 Stars, Biography, Documentary