Saturday 7 July 2018

The Pianist

A harrowing WWII drama based on the true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, the Polish pianist who found himself, as a Jew, wrapped up in the invasion of Nazi Germany and depicts not only the terrible hardship that he and his family had to endure but also gives a glimpse into the terrible effect of the day on the whole of the Jewish community and survival in the Warsaw Ghetto. I guess Schindler’s List is noted as one of the most graphic portrayals of the plight of the downtrodden at the time and the terrible things that were done to the Jewish people, but this also allows us a similar insight into how it was on the ground in an often claustrophobic ambience.

Shot in 2002 by Roman Polanski (Oliver Twist, The Ninth Gate, Death and the Maiden, Bitter Moon, Rosemary's Baby) and Starring Adrien Brody (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Houdini (TV), Midnight in Paris), Thomas Kretschmann (Stalingrad, The Saint, Valkyrie, Downfall, U-571), Frank Findlay and Maureen Lipman amongst many others, the film is acted amazingly well by the whole cast. Brody is said to have lost lots of weight in order to demonstrate the horrors of starvation appropriately. The sets are bleak and the prejudice and terrible behaviour of the invaders incredibly demonstrated.

It’s a story of survival and one man’s struggle to get through, to wait in hiding until liberation arrives, fighting for each breath to keep going, not a Boy’s Adventure WWII film which were made by the gallon in the 1960’s and really became Cowboys v Indians, baddies v goodies romps. This is a sad true story which uplifts the mood very little, but rather, gives us food for thought and appreciation that people actually did come out the other side of the terror of the day.

The book by Szpilman on which the film is based is available to purchase at

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