The Pianist

There are very few movies which you watch on your DVD player, lying tilted on your couch, yet feel like standing up and giving applause for every frame. The Pianist (2002) is one such film. I think this movie makes you a better person, in essence, it teaches you to value life and to value your loved ones.


The Pianist is a film by Roman Polanski, a name that must ring a bell as a writer, producer, actor and director and moreover a 4-time nominee for the Academy Awards. What gives this film a sure shot edge is its ability to capture the exactness of the mind of a person who has survived the holocaust, to achieve the precisions of melancholy and drama and to put it on the screen. The film has been derived from the autobiography of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jew who played the piano on a Warsaw radio station. The character has been impersonated by Adrien Brody, who I believe is one of the most talented actors of Hollywood.


The story rolls when a contented Wladyslaw, faces an attack at the radio station, and soon discovers that the Polish Jews are forced to give up their belongings and move to the Warsaw ghetto. This decision is announced on account of invasion of the Nazis. The plot is redefined by Wladyslaw escape and later his survival, hiding and living without food for days. The array of events that he encounters, would damp any viewers eyes and so they did mine; his passion for music emerges as the only sane practice as well as a source for renewal, sure to knot your stomach and glitch your throat as you feel for the losses that Jews endured in those hard times.


A moment in the movie I’ll not forget involves Wladyslaw’s confrontation with a German captain named Wilm Hosenfeld played by Thomas Kretschmann, who discovers his hiding place by accident. It heightens the mood and the anticipation which the film builds up for you.


I think the movie possessed a genuine feel, since it has been adapted from a memoir; and the atrocities of World War 2 were faced by Polanski in his own life as well. I saw this movie for the first time on Zee Studio; I still remember missing my coaching classes owing to the emotional weariness I experienced soon after. I chose this movie for the debut screening of my Film Club in the city. I received a pleasant response from everyone, but there was one man in the audience contacted me some days after the screening and told me that he was so moved by the movie that he couldn’t talk to me immediately thereafter. Perhaps, it was because he had served in the army and was acquainted with the war atrocities.


The movie is not meant to depict the holocaust of the World War 2 and the brutality the survivors faced, but on the contrary, a tale of one of hundreds which encapsulates endurance and tolerance and the power to overcome the senselessness of war.


I believe it’s mandatory to watch this one…


Mayank Bhayana
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