In Darkness

In Darkness is a Polish film from 2011, which recently premièred on BBC4.

Based upon the book In The Sewers of Lvov by Robert Marshall, In Darkness follows Polish sewer worker, Leopold Socha, and his efforts to conceal 12 Jews from the Nazis in the sewers of his home-town, Lvov.

You won’t be surprised – or shocked – to hear that the story is based on actual events. In other words, it’s a true story.

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, In Darkness received 17 nominations worldwide collecting 7 wins.

In the UK it received a ’15’ certificate  – hardly surprising given the nature of the film. However, certificates are insufficient it seems when a film is broadcast on TV. Detailed synopses plus explicit warnings are required. The BBC duly issued such a warning. And the warning made me think several things in fact, but primarily; why, when a film airs at say 23:00 hours is it necessary to warn viewers about its content? Surely the little ones are in bed? So isn’t it enough to say the film is about the Holocaust and it’s a ’15’?

Are we are so damn fucking sensitive we need to be forewarned at length about the film’s content?

No – I don’t think we are, and yet these warnings become ever more elaborate.

“Strong language now on BBC4 as well as some violent scenes and some scenes you may find upsetting, as an unlikely hero saves a dozen lives…”

I watched In Darkness. I scored it 9/10 on IMDB. It’s as good as Schindler’s List (1993) and The Pianist (2002). Better than The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008).

However, might I be so bold as to suggest a revision to the BBC’s lengthy synopsis-cum-warning for the sensitive souls out there, who cannot deal with all this 2D trauma and unpleasantness

“Strong language now on BBC4 as well as some violent scenes and some scenes you SHOULD find upsetting, as an unlikely hero saves a dozen lives…”

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2 thoughts on “In Darkness

  1. This kind of thing drives me absolutely crazy and you are spot on about the revised warning. We get things here with an R18 warning (Sopranos, Banshee, House of Cards to name but several) and there are at least three warnings before the program begins. I wonder how many more will be added to SNLVP before everyone is safe. In Darkness is a film I’d like to see but given the storyline I’d probably be able to ascertain before viewing that it would be an upsetting and difficult experience. Much in the same way that when I watched The Wire I could glean from the synopsis that the word fuck (amongst others) may be used fairly liberally throughout. I think my head may have exploded if they’d mentioned “Contains scenes of drug use” in a “May contain nuts” kind of way. My particular favourite these days is the warning “This program has no age restriction but parental guidance is advised for viewers under the age of 13”. What does this even mean? Given I’m in a country where the “family” audio option when turned on will bleep out people saying “God” then it’s hard to know what may be contained in such a show. I wonder if the filter would allow Monty Python’s classic ‘Semprini’ through the net…

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    • I have no idea what “This program has no age restriction but parental guidance is advised for viewers under the age of 13″, means, Nik. It could be something from Google Translate. Or from the English/Hungarian phrase book that saw some poor chap end up at The Old Bailey because the phrase, “Can you tell me the way to the train station translated to – Can I fondle your bum?” (hmm that was Monty Python come to think of it). Perhaps you should try to watch Trainspotting then The Usual Suspects with the family friendly swear filter on – and finally – look for an option to turn the God filter off when watching Songs of Praise? Lord isn’t life complicated?

      Liked by 1 person

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