Poland has selected Agnieszka Holland’s World War II drama In Darkness (Sony Pictures Classics) as their submission for the best foreign-language Oscar. A Polish-German-Canadian co-production, In Darkness is based on the real story of a Polish man, Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz), who turned from smalltime swindler to a hero, hiding Jews in the sewers of Lwów (Ukraine). Holland has said that this film is about “the dark and bright sides of man, showing how easy it is to cross the line from one to the other.”
It’s her third feature dealing with the holocaust, a theme that “continues to be a big artistic challenge as there are many questions that still remain unanswered,” she told the PAP news agency. “For me, if only for personal reasons, Polish-Jewish relations are particularly important.” Almost all of her father’s family was wiped out in the Warsaw Ghetto. Her mother helped to save refugees from the ghetto and won a Righteous Among the Nations medal.
Holland has been nominated for two Academy Awards, for best foreign language film in 1986 (Angry Harvest) and best adapted screenplay in 1992 (Europa, Europa). She directed English-language films The Secret Garden and Washington Square, and more recently has worked in the U.S. directing such cable series as The Wire, Treme, and AMC’s The Killing.