Sunday, September 4, 2011

Telluride Film Festival #38 Review: In Darkness

The first big premiere I saw was at the Palm, at the Telluride High School, the festival does a good job of transforming the school's auditorium into a cool theater.

The movie, In Darkness, is so new there is not a movie poster or still to show you. It is directed by Agnieszka Holland who directed a movie adaptation of one of my daughters' favorite books, The Secret Garden ( 1993)...
and many T.V. series such as The Wire and Cold Case

In Darkness, highlights the true story of a group of Polish Jews forced into the sewers of Lvov after the Germans destroy the ghetto and begin to annihilate or imprison any Jew they see.
The group is helped by a reluctant Catholic sewer inspector, who ultimately makes great sacrifice for their protection, even endangering his own family to do so.

Holland, is Polish,  the daughter of both a Jew and an Agnostic, and knows all to well the horrors of the Holocaust. But it felt like the movie mostly highlighted the worst of people during this horrible time. Soha, the greedy sewer inspector, played by Robert Wieckiewicz only helping the Jews in the beginning for money. A German soldier, after making a Rabbi dance, gleefully ripping out a part of his face by pulling on his long beard. One of the Jewish women, who gives birth kills her baby in the dark of the sewers.

I am sure all these did happen during the war and worst.  But what we did not see, other than in Soha finally deciding to help the entrapped sewer Jewish, is any act of kindness, courage, selflessness in any of the other characters and I know those things also existed because they have been highlighted in such great Holocaust movies as Schindler's List ( 1993)
And my favorite Defiance
All three movies are based on the heroics of real ordinary people resisting the oppression of the Germans as they lay waste to Northern Europe. Defiance is also about Jews escaping after the destruction of the Ghettos. But where the Jews in In the Dark hid in the sewers and I mean no disrespect in the comparison, these people had such little assets and time to save themselves, any story of the Jews resistance is to be applauded, the Jews in Defiance were able to run to the forest around them and were much better off, but there were also other things very different between the two groups in hiding.

No true leader emerged  in In Darkness, were in Defiance, almost immediately Tulva Bielski in real life...
and played by Craig in the movie, brought the terrified people together....

In In the Darkness, although Soha, does rise above his known world and help the Jews hiding in the sewer, there is no central leader amongst the hidden Jews and the character, like real life people entrapped in dire times, revert almost to an animistic way of survival.

In both movies,  women attach themselves to men for protection, but where in In the Darkness, it is a raw act of just sex, with the women killing her child after the father steals the groups supplies and sneaks off to save himself, in Defiance, although Tuvia has proclaimed that no baby can be in the camp due to the need to hide from the Germans, he softens when the women he loves asks him for compassion. The Bielski partisans even find ways to continue with their tradition, the youngest brother being married under the canopy and eventually, though not highlighted in the film, go on to create a school for the many children that come there for protection.

A strong leader if needed for survival....
There is much documentation of the unbelievable leadership of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark...

 which protected the lives of all 33 men that went with them and created such a great mass of documentation. Lewis and Clark brought a respect to the whole group, including a black slave, allowing him to vote with the rest of the group on life threatening decisions.

The Shackleton Expedition,
 Where after things did not well for his exploration ship The Endurance, in Antartica, the leader of the expedition succeeded in saving every last man.

There are also times, when no leader emerges, leaving everyone to "save themselves", it usually does not go as well, ever heard of the The Donner Party

No comments:

Post a Comment