Movie Review of the Pianist: Film History

Essay by pfgray2000University, Bachelor'sA+, August 2004

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The Pianist

The film, "The Pianist," directed by Roman Ploanski is based on the true autobiographical book about the years of the Holocaust by the late Wladyslaw Szpilman, who is renowned for being one of the greatest concert pianists in the world. His story is one of occupation, great sadness, and ultimately, a story of survival and the ability of the human spirit to endure. The film gives overwhelming testimony to people's capacity for both evil and for good.

"The Pianist" was the winner of the prestigious Golden Palm Award at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and has been critically acclaimed and accepted as one of the great films of our time. It almost won an Oscar. As a child, Roman Polanski, the director, was a Jewish survivor of Nazi-occupied Poland. Polanski was distinctively suited to tell the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman because it is based on his own experience.

The context of film starts with Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody) playing beloved music on the polish radio while the first bombs fall over Poland in 1939. Szpilman, along with thousands of Jews, are soon subjected to the Nazis' tearing apart their world by violating their human rights and trampling on their dignity. Szpilman loses everything over the course of the film, except for his own life.

The film is a progression of how Nazi occupation affected anyone of Jewish decent. Polanski depicts the destruction of a typically pleasant household consisting of Sziplman's mother, father, his head strong brother, and his two sisters. The characters get progressively stripped of their dignity and possessions. First, the Star of David is forced on their arm. Then, their civil liberties are suspended. Finally, they are exiled into the walled Warsaw ghetto. In the ghetto they meet an even worse fate as SS troops...