Friday, August 13, 2010


“I always knew that one day I would make a film about this painful chapter in Polish history, but I did not want it to be based on my own life. As soon as read the first chapter of Wladyslaw Szpilman’s memoirs, I instantly knew that The Pianist would be the subject of my next film. I knew how to tell it. It was the story I was seeking; in spite of horror it is a positive account, full of hope. I survived the bombing of Warsaw and the Cracow ghetto and wanted to recreate those childhood visions. It was also important for me to stick as close to the truth as possible and avoid Hollywood style make-believe. I never have done, and don’t intend to do, anything autobiographical, but making ‘The Pianist’, I could use the experiences I went through.”
Roman Polanski

Polanski’s this masterpiece is undoubtedly tribute to his homeland and the time which brought chaos to Poland. Movie opens in 1939 Nazi-German occupation of Warsaw and we witness a gifted Jew pianist Szpilman playing Chopin on piano amid chaos and bombardment outside. A sudden blast broke the window and next we witness the horror of war where Szpilman and his Jewish family have to bear the burden of surviving in hard times without money, food, water and home. They have to survive in fenced and walled jewish ghettoes where any moment German Gestapo shoot them for no reason at all. Luckily it’s the pianist who survives with help of few jewish friends and a german officer.

The film has many scenes reminds you Neo-Realist Italian cinema of De Sica. Polanski abstained putting his personal comment on any particular angle on holocaust, shows us the general picture with a man who is witnessing the physical, psychological and existential chaos all around him and yet luckily survives. Its Polanski’s detailing of war’s horror at personal and general level which makes it a fine human document of war-drama. However at the same time, it’s very unusual Polanski film hardly bears any resemblance with his earlier films in theme and treatment and yet he managed to make a film with all possible humanity like his personal story.

The film is shot brilliantly by Pawel Edelman and there are many scenes which stays in memory-i.e one where Szpilman witnessed the exterminated other half of ghetto watching the ruined buildings all around. Adrien Brody’s restraint act is his best till day and surely deserves a trophy of Best actor that year. He maintained the individual part but his artistic stand remained totally absent throughout the film until the few last minutes when he plays piano on insistence of a German officer. But that was moment and I don’t regret much when I see the rolling titles. No film compels you to pay your ears and eyes as ending titles starts rolling on screen but surprisingly Polanski made us felt the power and the magic of music till the last ending title.

Undoubtedly a great film which pays Polanski his long due Oscar trophy of Best Director but still I firmly believed that he deserved it more for ‘Chinatown’ than this most popular one.


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