Saturday, December 18, 2010

#134. The Pianist (2002)

DVD Synopsis: Nominated for 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and winner of 3, The Pianist stars Oscar winner Adrien Brody in the true-life story of brilliant pianist and composer Wladyslaw Szpilman, the most acclaimed young musician of his time until his promising career was interrupted by the onset of World War II. This powerful, ultimately triumphant film follows Szpilman´s heroic and inspirational journey of survival with the unlikely help from a sympathetic German officer. A truly unforgettable epic, testifying to both the power of hope and the resiliency of the human spirit, The Pianist is a miraculous tale of survival masterfully brought to life by visionary filmmaker Roman Polanski in his most personal movie ever.

With the Holocaust as its subject matter, comparisons between The Pianist and Steven Spielberg’s classic 1993 film, Schindler's List, were inevitable. Yet despite the similarities in their stories, each relates the tragedy in an entirely different manner. 

Both films successfully recreate the horrific conditions of the ghettoes, yet The Pianist goes beyond the horror, providing us with details of everyday life in the Ghetto, where Jewish prisoners did the best they could to carry on with their lives under the most miserable of circumstances. Szpilman (played excellently by Adrian Brody) even manages to find work as a musician, playing piano for patrons at a Jews-only restaurant, occasionally pausing so that black marketeers can carry out business transactions at a nearby table. Where Schindler's List masterfully captured the horror, The Pianist provides the determination, the will to carry on and maintain a sense of dignity, even as all shreds of it are being systematically stripped away. 

Director Roman Polanski, who as a boy in Nazi-occupied Poland witnessed the deportation of his mother to Auschwitz, constructed The Pianist from the viewpoint of a survivor, giving us more than a mere documentation of a human tragedy. The Pianist captures the desire to endure, a desire that Polanski himself could certainly relate to.

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Billy Kravitz said...

Nice site. Just discovered it, You have the framework for a weighty book there, plus the knowledge and voice to pull it off. Enjoy reading your coverage of the various films. Am following now. Looking forward to more.

Dave B. said...

Billy: I appreciate the comment (and it's always nice to hear from another Pennsylvanian! I'm in the Philly suburbs).

Thanks for the kind words regarding the blog, and to hear it from someone like yourself, who has a literary background, is doubly rewarding. The thought of putting a book together HAS crossed my mind, and I would love to do so one day.

Again, thanks so much! Your comment made my day!