In Darkness

in darkness
Jasmin Marla Dichant, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

An Oscar nominee this year for Best Foreign-Language Film, In Darkness tells the true story of Leopold Socha (the excellent Robert Wieckiewicz), a Polish sewer worker and thief in the Nazi-held city of Lvov who takes money to hide a group of Jews underground. Based on Robert Marshall's nonfiction book In the Sewers of Lvov, the film offers a warts-and-all portrait of victims and saviors, forgoing the heroism inherent in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List. Polish director Agnieszka Holland, who triumphed with 1991's similarly-themed Europa Europa, makes us feel the rat-crawling filth and human agony of living in those sewers for over a year. In Darkness is an agonizing experience, especially when Jews are publicly humiliated in the streets and a driving rainstorm nearly drowns those cowering in the depths. Holland means to shake you. In Darkness has the power to haunt your dreams.

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