Sunday, March 11, 2012

In Darkness

Let's be honest, it's hard to decide to watch a Holocaust film. Your hand reaches for the DVD of "Shindler's List" but lands on "The Hangover". But after reading Mick LaSalle's glowing review of Polish director Agnieszka Holland's "In Darkness", the bureau chief and Madame Le Chef decided to watch this new film. I don't always agree with M. LaSalle's reviews but in this case I did. This is an excellent film. And unlike M. LaSalle, I'm going to tell you the ending because I want you to see it. The small group of Jews who are being helped to hide in the sewers of Lvov, by the lead character Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz ), survives because of his actions. The way the human mind works, or at least the bureau chief's does, is that even if a few people survive, in the face of the overwhelming horror, we can actually extract emotional uplift from it. Art battles against depression.

Since there's no reason to repeat what LaSalle said, I'll mention a detail or two that he didn't. The actors dialogue is in five different languages (Polish, German, Yiddish, Ukrainian and a dialect formerly spoken in Lvov, which has now disappeared). The name Lvov has also disappeared. Today the city is called Lviv and is in Ukraine instead of Poland. All the acting is good but Robert Wieckiewicz's performance is great. Highly recommended

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