In Darkness

Rated R 145 min. 2012

The quandary of so many Holocaust films is how to show now-familiar horrors without making them seem rote, like some sort of laundry list of degradation. It’s one the legendary Polish director Agniezska Holland faces in In Darkness, which initially, at least, feels like so many other Holocaust films we have seen before. As tension builds inside the ghetto, a group of Jewish men have been digging a tunnel from their cramped quarters into the elaborate sewer system beneath Lvov. Once inside the sewers, they are beyond the reach of the Nazis, but they’re initially preyed upon by two Polish sewer workers, Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz) and Szczepek (Krzysztof Skonieczny). In addition to their day jobs, the men moonlight as petty thieves, and they are more than happy to take the money of the Jews living below the earth. The men agree to lead a group of the Jews deeper into the sewers. As long as they continue to pay him, Leopold keeps their secret, though he never loses his distaste for the business at hand. Every situation they face only affirms his disgust for the Jews in his care. Once the film digs into the reality below ground, In Darkness begins to take emotional hold, chronicling the true, terrible story of these people who lived a claustrophobic existence for 14 months. The longer Leopold tends to his Jews, bringing them food or books or supplies, the more he begins to move beyond his knee-jerk anti-Semitism.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Agnieszka Holland

Writer: David F. Shamoon

Producer: Steffen Reuter, Patrick Knippel, Marc-Daniel Dichant, Leander Carell, Juliusz Machulski and E

Cast: Robert Wieckiewicz, Benno Fürmann, Agnieszka Grochowska, Maria Schrader, Herbert Knaup, Kinga Preis and Krzysztof Skonieczny


In Darkness

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