The Pianist

Dir: Roman Polanski. 2002. Starring: Adrien Brody. English. War.
The Pianist

Moving pictures concerning WWII concentration camps have a tendency to romanticize the subject matter, and probably for good reason. But since Polanski experienced it for himself, the film naturally becomes personal for the viewer. The Pianist is filled with raw intensity and beautiful storytelling. Instead of focusing on the account of such an incredible turning point of world history, Polanski chooses to emphasize human character, conditions, flaws and strengths.

The story is based on the memoir of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jewish pianist who performed for Polish Radio and composed classical and popular music. His survival in the Holocaust is an incredible and moving tale. There is no way to define the tragedies of the Nazi march through Poland in any simple terms, but here is a film that depicts an intimate portrait of one who has traversed the witnessing of human death, loss of career, home, and family, and the persecution among his own race.

An arresting theme that runs throughout The Pianist is the hope for playing music once again. Alongside Szpilman are Jews who lack the stamina to stay alive, but he chooses to strive for living in the sheer possibility of being able to run his fingers through a piano and create beautiful sounds. Concisely, this film is not for the lighthearted, but for the stirring passion of musicians and survivors alike.


The Pianist won 3 Oscars:  Best Actor (Adrien Brody), Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was nominated for 4 additional Oscars, including Best Picture.

Posted by:
Tiffany Huang
Jul 19, 2008 3:15pm
Soylent / Amoeba Banner
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