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In Darkness [DVD]

4.4 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Directors: Agnieszka Holland
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Metrodome Distribution
  • DVD Release Date: 9 July 2012
  • Run Time: 144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0082B4QUY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,316 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

When a sewer worker discovers a group of Jews living under the streets of war torn Poland he immediately sees a profit to be made. But as the war rages, humanity grows in the shadows and an incredible true story of courage and sacrifice emerges.

Reviews:
A triumph of the spirit...Epic Cinema - BBC5Live
**** Empire
Angieszka Holland's bluntly realistic Holocaust drama stands apart from other attempts to film unfilmable events by painting a pitch black portrait of its heroes as well as its villains - ***** - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
**** - Time Out
**** Total Film

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 5 July 2012
Format: DVD
Based on true events which took place in the Polish city of Luvov in WW2, this gruelling arthouse film revisits the emotional and factual territory familiar from Anne Frank's diary and Schindler's List. It seeks out rare fragments of human integrity and benevolence which have been all but extinguished under the Nazi boot in occupied territory. It is not a nice film, and the story is frighteningly familiar.
When the Jewish ghetto in the city is liquidated, and the people are either shot on the spot or shipped to a labour camp, a group of Jews flee into the city's sewers. A neer-do-well sewer worker (who moonlights as a looter) discovers them and strikes a bargain: he'll feed and find a safe haven in the rat-infested, stinking hellhole for a dozen of them. And they must pay him to stay alive.
So begins an appalling underground incarceration which lasts for over a year and which rasps away every aspect of sophistication from the disparate group. At first the sight of a rat is enough to cause shrieking hysterics. Later, the children pluck the animals from their shoulders without a second thought. Yet despite the relentless tension and misery, the majority of the refugees retain their better qualities: on the whole they seek to protect, to nurture and to survive as a unit. They may indeed be starving in darkness, but their lives are not without light.

Although 'In Darkness' makes for stressful and occasionally grim viewing, it is not without its lighter moments of humour and blackly comic insight. In particular the scenes between Socha, the sewer worker who turns out to be the Jews' saviour, and his wife are entirely life-affirming.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is based on the true story of Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz) who during war torn Poland worked as a sewer inspector in the Polish town of Lvov (it is now Ukrainian called Lviv). He supplemented his income by burglarising houses and selling the goods on the black market - this included many former houses of the Jews that had been sent to the ghettos or worse.

Then the Nazis come to take everyone, the Jews have anticipated this and had already seen the sewer as a sort of refuge. Socha and his accomplice have already seen this as a possible way to make money, so they strike a bargain with the Jews that in return for payment that they will be looked after. What started out as a money making scheme soon becomes something more for Socha as he sees the terrible events unfold as the war staggers to its ultimate conclusion. We also get to see the brutal effects of even `casual collaboration' and the arbitrary `justice' meted out by the occupiers.

This is a Polish, German and Canadian co production and is in Polish, German, Yiddish and Ukrainian so obviously is sub titled, but this should not put you off. All of the performances are compelling and the tension and fear is palpable through out. The creeping madness of being shut in a sewer for months is not covered up and the filth is omnipresent. One can only begin to imagine how horrific it must have been. Socha and his family were named as "Righteous among the Nations" by Yad Vashem in Israel for their efforts.

This is not a war film in the normal sense but is a tale of true heroism and suffering that is caused by war and is a brilliant compliment to the many new films that are being made about the struggles of ordinary people caught up in a war they did not understand and showing extraordinary ability to overcome the situations they are forced in - highly recommended.
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By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Aug. 2012
Format: DVD
It is not every day that you see a performance so powerful that it can carry a film alone. In this case the film did not require much carrying. Robert Wieckiewicz plays the true character Leopold Socha a thief and burglar, skilled in the life of a sewer rat' who hides a group of jews for 14 months in the sewers under Nazi-occupied Lvov.(former Poland) His virtuoso portrayal of a rogue who develops a heart is up there with the brilliant performance of Karl Markovics in that fine film "The Counterfeiters", as Salomon Sorowitsch the concentration camp forger who also dangerously finds he has a well hidden heart. Neither film contains the rather false cloying, feelgood sentimentality that flawed Spielberg's "Schindlers List". This can make for tough viewing at times, but is always compelling, despite the fact that much footage is shot in the darkness of the sewers, or wherever it was!

Despite the sombre nature of the film it is actually more upbeat than Andrej Wajda's 1957 film "Kanal", where a group of Polish soldiers and guerillas take to the sewers after the heroic but doomed Warsaw uprising of 1944. That film contained few rays of future hope. Director Agnieszka Holland, who has been around for a while now, directs with just the right balance of horror and fear. The gradual awakening of a conscience in Socha is believable and well handled. Living in appalling conditions with the ever present threat of capture and immediate death must have been a nightmarish existence which she captures perfectly. The group has the inevitable arguments, as any group would in such claustrophobic circumstances. My favourite scene was when Socha's innocent daughter almost gives him away to one of the jew hunters. It was one of those hand over the face moments.
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