There are 6 million stories in the Holocaust, and while many of them follow the same arc of tragedy, each happened to someone.
In her Oscar-nominated film In Darkness, the great Polish director Agnieszka Holland tells the true story of a man who hides a group of Jews in the sewers beneath an occupied Polish town. He does it for money at first, but he finally can't deny his humanity, unlike so many others around him — including his church, whose teachings fan the hell fires. Holland tells her detailed history with a camera that jitters, swirls and probes, and with washed-out colors that look like fading memories. She's merciless in what she depicts, but mercifully, doesn't linger or shock.
Holland begins In Darkness with a series of vignettes, all set at night: a home burglary, an extermination in the woods, and then, a couple's furtive lovemaking. These are the barest essentials of life in this milieu. But before we witness any of it, we hear a train whistle, and we anticipate a one-way voyage to the camps. This time, though, it's just a child's toy, another example of the yin and yang of this everlasting story's iniquity.