Oscar Mania: “In Darkness”

Posted 7 years ago by myetvmedia

“In Darkness” is a Polish film directed by Agnieszka Holland.

Screenwriter David Shamoon was inspired to write this story after reading a single sentence in a Toronto newspaper in an article entitled The Righteous. This article describes a book that cataloged those incredibly courageous individuals who risked not only their own lives, but also the lives of their families, by helping Jews escape the clutches of the Nazis during the HolocaustDavid Shamoonthen began an 8-year journey that would take him from the sewers of Lviv, Ukraine (Lvov, Poland during World War II), to a bitterly cold set at the legendary Babelsberg Studio just outside Berlin. He travelled into some of the darkest recesses of human history.

David felt very strongly that this story should never be ‘Hollywoodized’. Acclaimed director Agnieszka Holland turned out to be the ideal director. She admits to turning down dozens of scripts with similar World War II themes over the years, but this particular script caught her attention because it explores much more than the brutality of nations or the horrors of persecution; it captures the intimacies of its characters and how they react to one another once thrust into unforeseen circumstances.

In Darkness is a true story. Agnieszka Holland insisted in authenticity and that the film be made in its languages of origin Polish, Yiddish, Ukranian, German. It is set in 1943 in the Nazi occupied city of Lvov where Jews are trapped in Ghettos awaiting eradication in concentration camps. Leopold Socha, a sewer worker and petty thief, encounters a group of Jews trying to escape by hiding beneath the city in the foul, rat ridden sewer system. What starts out as a straightforward and cynical business arrangement for Leopold Socha turns into a very unexpected and unlikely alliance between Sochaand the Jews. ‘In Darkness’, literally and metaphorically is true to its title. Holland effectively uses the dim light and strict confines of the sewer locations to make the angst and discomfort of her characters very real to the viewer.

The film is an extraordinary story of survival as these men, women and children all try to outwit certain death during 14 months of ever increasing and intense danger. At a time when the worst of human nature and desperation is prevalent, extraordinary tales of love, courage and sacrifice are found.

Agnieszka Holland who already has a remarkable career as a filmmaker and 3 previous Oscar nominations, says this movie was one of the most difficult she has ever made.

 

Moira Romano

 

Images courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Interview with Director Agnieszka Holland

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