Country: United Kingdom
Director: Roman Polanski
Cast: Adrien Brody (Wladyslaw Szpilman, the pianist), Emilia Fox (Dorota), Ed Stoppard (Henryk), Thomas Kretschmann (Captain Wilm Hosenfeld)
Genre: Biography – Drama – War
A few weeks ago I watched The Pianist because I had to write an essay for History about WWII. I thought it was a fictitious story when I saw it, what wouldn’t have taken its value anyway, but when the credits appeared at the end of the film, I found out it wasn’t. The pianist was a real man, and most of what you see in the movie is completely true. Here is my comment about this heartfelt film, which is in my view, totally worth seeing.
Pianist and composer Wladyslaw Szpilman, as well as the rest of Warsaw, still think there may be better times for Poland. But as time goes by, they start realizing there will be no such thing. In 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union invade the country and partition it into two parts, each one under one of the enemies’ control. So now that Warsaw plays Nazi Germany’s rules, Wladyslaw and all his family know that really bad things are going to happen to them. Because, of course, they are Jews.
New ridiculous decrees against Jewish inhabitants are imposed, and soon the Szpilman family is confined in the Warsaw Ghetto, an extremely tiny place for more than 400000 Jews, where fear to death is always in everybody’s mind. But the worst thing is not being punished because you broke some stupid rule. The worst thing is to be hit, humilliated and even killed because you broke no rule. Because you just were in the wrong place in the wrong time and the Nazis chose you as their next victim. Wladyslaw tries with all his efforts to protect his family, but that seems to be never enough. Will he make it trough this game in which the main objective is keeping alive until the next day?
The first time I watched The Pianist I had the impression that this was a brilliant movie. At the beginning I just didn’t know why, but I loved it. Although the story is (very) sad, because the Holocaust in general is horrible and often unbelievable, I think Wladyslaw Szpilman’s story conveys hopefulness. He passes trough really tough situations and keeps going on anyway. Moreover, he finds great people on his path who help him without expecting anything back, and regardless of the fact that helping this man may cost their own lives.
After watching the movie, I read a lot about it (I had to write an essay about it, remember?), and as the movie is based on Szpilman’s own book, I also got it and read it. It was extremely interesting, and very engaging, in fact. But the great thing here, is that knowing the original story, directly from its source, I could see that the movie is very accurate too. You can see in images what Szpilman said with words. It’s true that there were some things which fiction added, for example, Dorota’s character, or the fact that Szpilman and his family had to move to the ghetto when they were, in fact, already in the area. But lots of scenes are exactly the same as Szpilman told them, in every single detail, what in my opinion, makes the movie even more special.
In addition to this, there’s the music, which I think fits perfectly with the movie. Not to mention that the pieces played on the piano were the same Szpilman played in real life. I love the fact that they respected small, but at the same time important, details like these. Then there’s photography, which as well as so many other war movies, is extremely beautiful. And finally, the acting is quite good, enough to achieve the great level of the film.
I must say I highly recommend this film. I admit I’m usually not keen on dramas, but truly, you HAVE to see this one. It is magnificient, and although you may probably cry, you can finish it with a smile. I learned a lot about the Holocaust with this movie (at least by taking it as the starting point of my work), and also enjoyed every bit of Wladyslaw Szpilman’s story. ☜
– Written by GuadiRC –