Poland picks 'Darkness' as its rep

The race for the foreign language Oscar has begun with a couple of early contenders.

Poland has chosen helmer Agnieszka Holland’s “In Darkness” (W ciemnosci) as its candidate, a couple of months after Greece opted for Athena Rachel Tsangari’s “Attenberg.”

“In Darkness” was the unanimous choice of the country’s Oscar committee, headed by culture minister Bogdan Zdrojewski.

Based on the book “In the Sewers of lvov” by author Robert Marshall, “In Darkness” tells the true story of wartime petty crook Leopold Socha, who becomes a hero when he risks his life by hiding a dozen men, women and children who face extermination by the Nazis in the sewers.

Produced by Studio Filmowe Zebra, and co-produced by Hidden Films (Canada) and Schmidtz Katze Filmkollektiv (Germany), the pic was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute and the Lodz Film Fund.

Sony Pictures Classics is handling U.S. distribution and rights. Polish distribution is through Kino Swiat with a theatrical release due in September.

Holland was nominated for best adapted screenplay Oscar in 1992 for “Europa, Europa” and in 1986 for foreign language film “Angry Harvest,” representing West Germany.

Tsangari’s “Attenberg” follows the life of a young woman with an unfulfilled sex life and her relationship with her dying father. It earned Ariane Labed the actress award at the Venice Film Festival.

The Haos Film production was made in association with the Greek Film Center, Faliro House Prods., Boo Prods. and Stefi Prods. The Match Factory is handling international sales.

The 84th Academy Awards will be held Feb. 26.

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