In Darkness

In Darkness / W ciemności

Published: October 9, 2016

In Darkness (W ciemności) is a 2011 Polish drama. It is based on the 1990 book In the Sewers of Lvov by Robert Marshall, which tells the story of a group of Jews who hid in the sewers of Lvov for more than two years while the Nazis occupied Poland during World War Two.

The film is a dramatic interpretation of the book and tells the story through the eyes of Leopold Socha, a sanitation worker who hides a group of Jews in the sewers after they have escaped from the Lvov ghetto. Socha originally asked for payment from the Jews he was hiding, but he continued to hide them after they no longer had any money, and did so at great personal risk. The real-life Socha was named a Righteous Among the Nations, a recognition that the state of Israel gives to non-Jews who saved the lives of Jews during the Holocaust.

The film got good reviews overall and won a number of awards. It was nominated for the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and won the main competition of the Camerimage international film festival. It also won three Eagles at the Polish Film Awards, including best actor (Robert Wieckiewicz, who played Socha) and best supporting actress (Kinga Preis, who played Wanda Socha). In addition, Krystyna Chiger, the last survivor who actually experienced the events that took place in the film, thought it was highly realistic and applauded the director, Agnieszka Holland, for not “beautifying” the events. Holland has some experience with this subject matter, having directed several other films about the Holocaust. She has also directed several episodes of the American film series The Wire and House of Cards.

Find In Darkness on Amazon here and here


Director: Agnieszka Holland
Stars: Robert Wieckiewicz, Benno Fürmann, Agnieszka Grochowska, Marina Schrader, Herbert Knaup, Kinga Preis
Production company: Zebra Films, Schmidtz Katze Filmkollektiv, the Film Works
Box office take: $5.58 million

Official trailer:

Find In Darkness on Amazon here and here


In Darkness

About the author

Julie Hersh

Julie studied Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk and before that, Bishkek, with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar

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