Thursday, May 10, 2012

Movie Time! 'The Pianist'

"Famed Polish concert pianist Wladyslaw Szepilman (Adrien Brody, in an Oscar-winning role) struggles to survive the onslaught of Nazi tyranny during World War II in this Roman Polanski-directed drama based on Szepilman's memoirs.  In spite of his well-known musical talents, Szepilman spends several years holed up in Warsaw, barely alive and subsisting on scraps, until grace comes in the form of a second chance-- at music, at freedom, and at life."

A very remarkable (and true!) Holocaust survival story.  I haven't read his memoir just yet, though I plan to do so very soon (as soon as I obtain it).  So for this review, I will not make any book/real life to film comparisons.

I appreciated that the film showed life before Jewish citizens began to be deported.  It personally gave me a sense of normalcy, so there was something to compare all of this tragedy to.  This helped make the movie effective as opposed to just showing the parts about the Jewish ghettos.

The Ghettos were a very prominent part in this movie because Mr. Szepilman (pronounced "shpill-men") never actually set foot in a concentration camp.  He was deported from Warsaw so that he and his family could join other "deported" Jews in the ghettos that were assembled from old apartment buildings.  That's not to say that Mr. Szepilman didn't have his share of hardships.  He struggled to find people who we able and willing to help him, he struggled to find food and shelter, he struggled to stay sane.  As you can imagine, he was a pianist.  When one is in hiding and not trying to be found, playing piano isn't the greatest option for you, so he couldn't play at all while he was in hiding (he played piano in the ghetto after leaving the Polish radio station).

Mr. Szepilman's struggles really came through on screen.  No words were needed, Adrien Brody is such an experienced actor-- he's believable and he has acting instinct.  It's beautiful watching him perform.  I found a picture of the real Mr. Szepilman and then one of Adrien Brody to compare how they did as far as looks.  In this picture, he has longer hair, but in the movie is was quite short.  I think there's quite a resemblance!  So Kudos to the casting crew.

My favorite part was when a German discovers Szepilman while he is in hiding and the German listens to Szepilman play the piano (by the German's command).  The music was beautiful and complex, so I'm quite jealous that anyone can play like that.

I liked that this movie showed something about the Holocaust that didn't involve concentration camps.  It's not denying that they existed, but it's acknowledging that not everyone went to the camps (though it was rare).  This film showed a different kind of survival and struggle.

I look forward to reading this memoir and telling you all about it!

This is a true Holocaust film about a man that survived in the ghettos and rubble of Germany.  It shows a different kind of survival and is a very well-made film.

Thanks for Reading!


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