Dir. Agnieszka Holland, 2011
Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film

Agnieszka Holland tells a true story of Leopold Socha, who risks his own life to save more than a dozen Jews from certain death. Initially interested only in his own good, the burglar helps the Ghetto refugees. They hidden for 14 months under Lvov occupied by the Germans. The inspiration for this war story was the novel In the Sewers of Lvov written by Robert Marshall. The main protagonist, Poldek (Robert Więckiewicz), takes the viewers around claustrophobic tunnels, whose darkness conveys the uncertain fate. However, the director manages to avoid a schematic portrayal of tragedy by interspersing the scenes with elements of humour, irony and even eroticism. Moreover Jolanta Dylewska’s photography helps to bring the moral dilemmas of the protagonist and the terror of the oppressed to the surface.

You can read more about the film at the IMDB.com online database.

Księży Młyn

In Księży Młyn, in front of the building, the shots portraying persecution of the Jews of Lvov by the Nazi occupant were filmed. In Holland’s film only snapshots that are several seconds long appear.

4 Nowomiejska Str.

In the yard between Nowomiejska and Zachodnia Street short scenes presenting the persecution of Jews by the SS and Wehrmacht soldiers were created. They appear on screen at the beginning of the film.

Old Town Park 

Most scenes in Agnieszka Holland’s film that take place in the sewers were shot in a film studio. However, some of them were created in an authentic tunnel of the Łódka River, located under the Staromiejski Park. In the film, the tunnel appears three times. When the massacre in the Lvov Ghetto begins, Leopold Socha (Robert Więckiewicz) and Szczepek (Krzysztof Skonieczny) meet in the sewers Jews who want to rescue themselves. They lead Ignacy Chiger’s (Herbert Knaup) group to a safe place.

Apart from that scene, we see the tunnel entrance on screen twice: when Poldek allows little Krysia Chiger (Milla Bańkowicz) to peek through the scuttle to a street in Lvov (the street itself, however, is located near the Market Square in Piotrków Trybunalski). Several scenes earlier, Poldek and Mundek (Benno Fürmann) approach the exit when they want to go to the surface in search of Mania.

Photo by Robert Pałka © Schmidtz Katze Filmkollektiv, WFDiF, The Film Works

11 Włókiennicza Str. (Majewski Passage)

In the place where today’s Hilary Majewski Passage begins, in the film In Darkness there was a fence and the gate to the Lvov Ghetto. In one of the film’s initial scenes, Mundek, standing behind the fence, is approached and slapped by Szczepek because Mundek has sold him a fake engagement ring.

22a Jaracza Str.

At this address the Lvov marketplace was staged. We see it in the scene in which Socha, buying vegetables at the stall, hears about 10 Poles murdered in retaliation for killing a German soldier. Passing by a gallows, he notices that one of the executed Poles is Szczepek.

Photo by Robert Pałka © Schmidtz Katze Filmkollektiv, WFDiF, The Film Works

Nad Jasieniem Str.

Near the bridge over the Jasień River the scene of the funeral of Chaja’s newborn son takes place. Poldek buries the boy’s body on the bank, while Klara (Agnieszka Grochowska), Chiger and Jakub (Jerzy Walczak), standing at the exit from the underground tunnel, bid him goodbye with a prayer.