In darkness

In darkness

DVD - 2012 | Polish
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Leopold Socha is a sewer worker and petty thief in Lvov, a Nazi occupied city in Poland. One day he encounters a group of Jews trying to escape the liquidation of the ghetto. He hides them for money in the labyrinth of the town's sewers beneath the bustling activity of the city above. What starts out as a straightforward and cynical business arrangement turns into something very unexpected, the unlikely alliance between Socha and the Jews as the enterprise seeps deeper into Socha's conscience.
Publisher: [United States] : Sony Pictures Classics ; [Canada] : Distributed by Mongrel Media, c2012.
Branch Call Number: DVD FILM IND
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 145 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.

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j
jimg2000
Sep 02, 2018

Unbelievable but true survival story, see interview in Special feature between the director Agnieszka Holland and the real Krystyna Chiger who was 7 years old in 1941, now the last survivor of the group. They made a point that Holland made the film independent of Chiger's memoir of her experience, "The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow (2008)." Besides the unthinkable suffering of Jews during Nazi's Final Solution, the film showed both the goodness and badness of the human soul: the Germans, the Ukranians (Lvov is a city currently in the western Ukraine,) the Pole and also the Jews.

f
firefly5
Jul 08, 2016

Returned. Did not realize this was in Polish.

h
hammer59
Mar 16, 2016

Powerful and moving film based on a true story.
Nominated for an Academy Award in 2011, and deservedly so.

This is a story that should be known.

j
JoaBiblio
Feb 21, 2016

Leopold Socha: another unsung hero.
Impressive film, well done in every sense.
Thumbs up!

d
dprodrig
Jan 04, 2016

I really was touched and moved by this movie. It has so much to offer and very little of it is pretty, from the greed and extortion first offered by Leopold, to the reality of living in a Nazi occupied state where the death of one soldier justifies the killing of 50 innocent people, to the filth and darkness (metaphorical and otherwise) of having to live with rats in the sewers barely trusting the saviour who put you there. The interview with the sole survivor, Krystyna, in the special features is sweet.

g
garycornell
Jan 03, 2016

The story of Leopold Socha is an amazing portrait in courage of a Polish man trying to help keep Jews hide from the Nazi's for 14 months. The movie gives an amazing account of these Jewish families and their struggle to survive. It should never be forgotten!

n
Nursebob
Dec 31, 2014

As the Nazis cut a bloody swath through the Jewish ghetto of Lvov, a handful of desperate people seek refuge in the sewers beneath the city. Woefully short on supplies and confused by the complex maze of crumbling tunnels and narrow conduits, they find themselves completely at the mercy of Leopold Socha, a Christian sewer worker whose motives for aiding the renegade Jews are more monetary than humanitarian. Despite the rats, the foul dank atmosphere and several deaths, the surviving fugitives settle into something resembling a routine with daily prayers for some, homework for the children and illicit sexual liaisons for others. But when their bribe money runs out and Socha begins to feel the pressure of harbouring “Jewish vermin”, a capital offense under German occupation, an already grave situation quickly becomes unbearable. Agnieszka Holland accomplishes two amazing things with her near perfect film; first of all she manages to concentrate the horrors of Germany’s pogrom against the Jews into an area the size of an underground chamber (ironically located beneath a Catholic cathedral) and secondly, by using only three main characters, Socha; his wife and his small daughter, she records the reaction of an entire nation. While he devises a plan to cash in on the escapees’ desperation, his wife goes from religious pacifism to frightened denial when the question of aiding the persecuted ceases to be a moral abstract. Meanwhile their daughter exhibits a bewildered innocence towards the atrocities around her as she plays with her “Jewish dollies” one moment and takes her father to see a row of hanged prisoners the next. Even the hidden refugees, romanticized by so many directors in the past, are shown here as fully human with all their flaws and qualities intact. There is a dynamic evolution in Holland’s work as her characters undergo changes in both heart and mind. A magnificent final sequence fraught with icy tension ends with all the dignity and confusion one would expect and left me with one of the most powerful cinematic images thus far; an open manhole cover seen from below, blinding white sunlight, and an arm reaching down...

nickmick Jan 16, 2014

Great movie. Check the interview part as well.

v
velloxal
Jun 13, 2013

War is always messy. How can you find human being in yourself. People are afraid of theirs own shadows. It's time you will know who your friends are. Can you find courage to help others risking your own life and your family...
Humanity is an answer to this drastic and difficult time.

b
BertBailey
Mar 04, 2013

Another very good flick about the murkiness below the surface of pretty much all of us, when pressed by circumstances. About a group of Jews who hide in the Lvov sewers during the Nazi occupation of Poland. The characters are, one and all, imperfect: every shade of gray, ranging from bad to worse, given the dire circumstances of wartime: racist Poles (who aren't altogether heartless), unreliable Jews (who of course are the locus of the movie's sympathy), Ukrainians driven to brutality as Nazis (er, unredeemed, except by inference from Stalinism), etc. In fact, it's one of the few 2nd World War films chock full of villains where German Nazis hardly play a part -- which, in some parts of Europe during that hell, would be 100% true to the facts. Bleak but well worth watching.

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Quotes

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j
jimg2000
Sep 02, 2018

We have to sell this shxt.
- Not now, the market's bad. This shxt's worth nothing right now. You can buy decent jewelry from a Yid for a few sausages.
===
I love her.
-So beat her! If you love a woman, beat her!
Do you beat Wanda?
- She beats me!
===
What's your name?
- Pirate.
Perfect name for a thief.
-I know the sewers better than I know my own wife. It's no place for you.
There is no place for us anywhere.
But I know places where it could work. For the right price.

===
The young one... he's scared, he'll betray us. Never trust a Polack. It's four against two. We can easily finish them off.
-We can't just kill them.
Why not? It's war!
-It'll end in a massacre. Twenty of ours for one of theirs.
No one has to know.
- Forget it. We have no choice!
===
Mr. Chiger, are you there? Thought we weren't coming, didn't you?

j
jimg2000
Sep 02, 2018

Those poor people. They're offering rewards for turning in Jews. Some people are making a pile.
-God will punish the greedy.
The Jews crucified Jesus. It's written in the Bible: "His blood be upon them and their children." The priest said so.
-That's just church politics. Just think about it. Jews are just the same as us. Our Lady and the apostles, they're all Jews! Even Jesus.
Jesus?
===
Onions are ten zlotys.
-Last week they were five!
You can afford it, Mr. Socha. A week ago your wife... had no cash and now suddenly you're shopping... for an army.
===
I never thought I'd miss the ghetto. Unbelievable, isn't it?
-You're welcome to go back!
===
The Germans are losing, that's obvious. You have to read between the lines.
- The Germans... Mr. Chiger, we all know... you speak their fxcking language.
The language of Heinrich Heine. You should learn it. But I suppose in your view ignorance is bliss.

j
jimg2000
Sep 02, 2018

I've brought food… Take it easy, calm down!... Stop it! Stop pushing!
- That's ours!
Stay calm!... Calm down, you'll kill each other!
- That's our bread!
Take it easy I said.
===
How do we all fit into this shit hole?
-I didn't promise to take care of every Jew in Lvov. Too many is dangerous.
Exactly how many can be saved?
-Ten.
Make it twelve or fourteen at least!
-Ten, eleven at the most.
===
I've chosen seven.
-And who made you God, Grossmann?
It was my room. I took all the risk.
- And the idea was mine, too.
Which I'm paying for!
-That makes you better than us? Before the war we'd never have been in the same room! What a joke! Listen to the professor... who refuses to speak Yiddish! All your education didn't buy you any sense. Bringing children into such a hell! You fool! Better to leave them with the Germans.

j
jimg2000
Sep 02, 2018

There's the four of us, Mundek... Klara, Janek, Berestycki... That makes eight. Chaja, Landsberg.
- Why Landsberg? He's a cripple!
At least not a mental cripple! So, Landsberg makes ten... Frankiel eleven.
-- Speak Polish, damn it!
---And Irena?
Frankiel is more useful.
--- I'm staying here anyway... I don't trust these Polacks.
--Who's coming?
There's twelve of us.
-- I said ten.
===
I'm begging you... Twelve. Like the twelve apostles.
-A Yid wouldn't know, but the twelfth was Judas!
There were always twelve. After Judas there was Matthias.
-Okay, twelve, but that's it!
===
Thirteen? Fourteen? Sixteen? Give a Jew a finger and he'll take your arm!
- I'm begging you...
No! Eleven or no one. You can always leave your kids behind, if you like, Mrs. Chiger.

j
jimg2000
Sep 02, 2018

We're grateful for all you've done... But 500 a day for only eleven is a lot...
-Out of which I buy all your bread, potatoes and sugar!
Yes, but you still earn...
- A mere 70 zlotys... that I share with Szczepek. You're bargaining over your own life. You're just like any other Yid!
===
A woman on Peltewna Street could smell fried onions. It came from her toilet. I could smell it myself. Look. They must be here. If we enter the sewer here, it can't be far. Can we get down there?
- Well, yes.
So let's go. Come on, Poldek, let's go! No one knows the sewers better than your husband!
-Listen, I live in a beautiful home. Want to know who gave it to us? Some rich Yid family I never even met!
Poldek, the Germans pay 500 cash for every Jew we catch. Let's hope we'll find some Jews in the sewers. Preferably rich ones.

j
jimg2000
Sep 02, 2018

Hasn't Poldek told you about... Jews, Poldek? We found some Jews in the sewers.
- And you're helping them?
Mrs. Socha...
--Wanda... they pay us.
So that's your "raise".
--You said the Jews were just like us. That Jesus was a Jew.
This is different.
-- I did it for you and Stefcia!
Don't you dare say you did it for us!
-- Wanda!
Don't you touch me!
===
Stop this damned praying! God isn't here!
===
I thought you were going to sell them (jewelries.) I won't be coming back. I'm risking my life, my family's life, for what? Complaints and accusations. And now this betrayal. Enough. This is too much. Szczepek was right.
===
I can't go on anymore.
- Yes, you can. You must go on. You will! If you don't live, I don't live either. And I plan on living a long and happy life.

j
jimg2000
Sep 02, 2018

You look a little too healthy. Maybe you're a partisan.
- Partisan? Can't you see I'm a Jew?
There are Jewish partisans.
===
Have you heard? The Germans have been having their fun. They hanged ten Poles in revenge... for a single German soldier.
-A German soldier?
But they weren't satisfied, so they shot 40 more people. Or maybe 50, all good, God-fearing Poles. You know, whoever killed that soldier is a hero to me... but the innocent always have to suffer.
===
I'm going to have a baby.
-What?
I'm going to have a baby. I'm sorry. I'm sorry!
-Janek's?
--Ours. Do you understand? It's ours. All of ours!
===
Mr. Socha, we can't pay you anymore. Friday's payment was the last. We have nothing left. Nothing.
-Mr. Chiger...Do the others know? I didn't want them to panic. Alright. (Socha put a roll of money in Chiger’s hands.) Here's next Friday's payment. Pay me in front of the others. I don't want them to think I'm a sucker who's doing all this for nothing.

j
jimg2000
Sep 02, 2018

Poldek! Socha! These tools must be worth a lot, for you to leave your daughter's communion! Are these your tools? Or were you trying to save the rats? Is that it? Were you saving the rats?
- I don't know what you mean.
This whole time you've been hiding Yids right under my nose.
===
Dear God... where did you come from?
-From the dead, sir... From the dead.
===
On May 1 2, 1 945, Leopold was killed, saving his daughter from an out-of-control Russian army truck. At his funeral, someone said, “It's God's punishment for helping the Jews." As if we need God to punish each other.
===
Krystyna Chiger grew up to write her memoir, “The Girl in the Green Sweater", published in 2008. She and the others suvivors escaped Soviet Lvov for Israel, Europe and the United States. Leopold and Wanda (Magdalena) Socha are among more than 6,000 Poles honored by Israel as The Righteous Among The Nations. This film is dedicated to all of them.

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r
Ron@Ottawa
Dec 20, 2012

Sexual Content: Nudity and explicit sexual activities make this film not suitable for children.

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