The Pianist, written by Ronald Harwood, based on the book by Wladyslaw Szpilman
9 out of 10
Notes and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
The Pianist is one of the best films ever made.
And there is plenty of evidence to support that claim.
It won the most important and relevant award in the cinema world, if we are talking real masterpieces:
- The Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival
The Pianist has also won the Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Director and Best Writing.
It won the BAFTA Awards for Best Film and the David Lean Award for Direction- Roman Polanski being the recipient.
As for the Academy Award, the director could not be in the audience to receive it given that he was –maybe he still is- charged with statutory rape or some similar crime, when he had had sex with a girl that was under age, quite a few decades ago.
Robert Evans writes in his book The Kid Stays in The Picture about how he had brought the Polish film maker to Hollywood.
They have worked on Rosemary’s Baby and we get some back stage details on that film, involving Mia Farrow, her husband at the time- Frank Sinatra, the latter’s opposition to his wife staying longer for the project and more innuendo.
The public appreciated The Pianist which is voted at number 41 on The IMDB list of most popular movies ever.
The film presents an extraordinary tale, of the survival of the great pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, played by Adrien Brody.
Apart from the wonderful talent proved while working on this film, it is amazing how much weight the actor has lost.
The ordeal and massacre suffered by the Jewish people is well known and one page of that horror involved the hero of the film and his family.
The audience is horrified by the suffering in the ghettos, from which the pianist manages to escape after some time.
But his pain is just beginning, because he has to go in hiding and rely on some good, generous men and women who offer support.
One of them is supportive to begin with, but then it turns out that he collected a lot of money from donations and he stole it.
There is very little food to eat and at one stage there is no more water…after becoming sick, the building wherein he is hiding comes under artillery fire from the German troops, responding to partisan attacks.
The hero barely escapes and he has to eat and drink in disgusting conditions, all the time freezing in the cold of a heavy winter.
The resilience and grit of this unfortunate man are astonishing, given his slim figure, a fact which is not to his advantage.
It is an unbelievable escape, for he has a brush with death in so many occasions, from the ghetto where a German is searching his sack of potatoes in which he had weapons that escape the Nazi, to the moment when he lies down on the street, pretending to be dead, when fascist troops are marching by.
In this complex, powerful and true narrative, we have good people on all sides, and the pianist finally finds a Nazi that is kind to him.
Captain Wilm Hosenfeld finds The Pianist hiding in one of the few last standing houses in a neighborhood that is in ruins- I was actually wondering how did they film this; it must have been special effects.
This German captain does not kill or take as prisoner the hiding Pianist, but on the contrary, he brings him some food.
One of the few humorous scenes, overwhelmed otherwise by the heavy, dark, sad atmosphere of the film takes place with the German…
When they meet, Wladyslaw Szpilman is in a horrible, terrible state, very, very thin, unshaven, haunted and desperately hungry.
All throughout his conversation with the enemy, who wants to see where he lives and then wants to hear the Pianist sing, Wladyslaw Szpilman carries with him a big tin with cucumbers, the only food he could find in his refuge…
And he would not let go of that.