TWO FILMS YOU SHOULD SEE. SUNDAY TIMES REVIEWS BELOW.
In Darkness 15, 145 mins Is another film about the horrors of Nazism and the triumph of the human spirit really necessary? No. But the Polish director Agnieszka Holland and the screenwriter David F Shamoon’s film is an exception. It’s a distinguished drama because it depicts ordinary life lived by real, complex and compromised people caught up in the nightmare of the Holocaust. This is based on a true story about a petty criminal, anti-semite and sewer worker, Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz), who lives in Nazi-occupied Lvov, Poland. When he comes across a group of Jews hiding in the sewers, he sees a chance to make some money. There’s no easy moralism here, and no attempt to shock. It’s an honest film about what we will and won’t do to survive. CL
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia 15, 150 mins A film set in rural Turkey, with a centrepiece dinner in a shabby village hut, pondering life, death and yoghurt? No wonder critics went potty for Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Anatolian road movie at Cannes. Exquisitely shot, this is bliss for film fans who prize composition and pace above anything really happening, as a prosecutor, a doctor and a policeman lead a crew through the night in search of a murder victim’s body. A bit like the first 20 minutes of No Country for Old Men stretched to more than two hours, Ceylan’s leisurely script allows characters to develop subtly, until you realise that, somehow, their worries and woes have crept under your skin. This is a masterclass in patient film-making that deserves to be seen on the big screen. JD