Veteran director Agnieszka Holland focusses on a little-known phenomenon in Second World War Poland, Jews hiding in the underground sewer systems of the major cities to escape deportation and the death camps.
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Brutal and dark, yet sublime, this film was unusual from start to finish. A great deal of the film is spent with minimal light, the faces of characters barely lit by small hand lanterns and streaks of light pouring into the sewers - although frustrating at times, this made the above-ground scenes of winter war feel even colder and harsher than before. "In Darkness" was a highly gripping (and stressful) viewing.
A different take on Holocaust history from the Polish point of view,had similar theme with Schindler's List and in a smaller scope but no less dramatic and powerful. Slightly slow in its pacing,the film takes its time to portray each characters story well.
A brilliant, unshowy, unsentimental film about a group of Jews whose only hope of survival is to shelter in the sewers beneath Lodz and trust their lives to an untrustworthy thief. It is the complex and often flawed personalities and relationships that give this film a realism that is not often seen in Holocaust movies.
An unusual view of the Holocaust based on a not explored before phenomenon: the hiding of Jews in the sewer tunnels to escape execution by the Nazis. It's a very realistic and honest portrait. There are flawed characters amongst the survivors, they're human, not just victims, which makes them even more interesting and not 'black and white' characters. The cinematography is beautiful!
Holland provides an appropriately straightforward treatment of a harrowing human experience and, the occasional misstep notwithstanding, largely avoids falling into the trap of sentimentality or crude characterisations. Most impressively, she captures powerfully how, in a world where people are treated worse than animals, the sexual urge instinctually becomes the greatest act of defiance against extermination.
This really didn't work for me. Been wanting to see Holland's films for a while but I thought the direction was quite flat and uninspiring for the most part, and there was something about the way it was shot that didn't quite bring home the horror of the sewer environment in the same way as Kanał so famously did.