The Pianist (2002)

The Pianist

Director: Roman Polanski


Based on a true story, “The Pianist” is a movie that is set amidst the ruins of an infamous ghetto, Warsaw Jewish District, Poland in September of 1939, right at the peak of the outbreak of the Second World War. “The Pianist” recounts the experiences of Wladislaw Szpilman, a truly brilliant musician played by our hero Adrien Brody (great acting!). This movie goes in depth about Szpilman’s escape from Nazi persecution and his constant struggle to survive. As chaos submerges upon Warsaw, it is nearly impossible for the cites remaining inhabitants to survive. As countless retreating German soldiers entered the city, fleeing for a quickly advancing Soviet army, hiding places for the Jewish Pianist were nearly insubstantial.


Roman Polanski is said to have turned down the opportunity to direct Schindler’s list because he felt as if it would be too painful. Himself being a survivor of the Holocaust, Polanski’s connection to the Krakow ghetto made the story all too personal. Since the release of The Pianist, it seems the director has finally come to terms with his pain. Unlike other mainstream Holocaust movies, I believe this one doesn’t try to portray heroism and selflessness as much as it does the actual process of survival. It is about the constant act of searching. Whether it be food, water, new places to hide, or a way out. This movie was quiet powerful because it requires the viewers to direct their attention on the loneliness and the silence Szpilman must have felt during his ordeal. This one particular scene that struck out to me was when close to the end, Szpilman crawls over the ghetto wall and as the camera rises behind him ever so slowly you see a city reduced to nothing but fragments and the hollowed out remains of buildings. The effect is both horrendous and beautiful at the same time. Possibly the most haunting moments in cinematography i’ve seen yet. I’m getting goosebumps just talking about it! What a movie! “The Pianist” is a testimony to the power of music, the will to live, and the courage to stand against evil. A truly must watch. One of my all time favorite movies. In spite of the horror throughout, it is a positive account, full of hope.


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