In Darkness

***

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)

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