The Pianist (2002)


Roman Polanski directs the harrowing story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish pianist and Jew who survived the horrors of the holocaust in World War II.

Adrien Brody’s performance is the centrepiece as it is a very personal journey as you watch with despair and revulsion as Polish Jews are stripped of their livelihoods, their rights and their dignity by a brutally oppressive regime. It’s unusual in that rather telling the story of a man involved in a war, it’s more of a spectator’s point of view; in fact the later scenes during which Brody is entirely alone, dishevelled and scavenging for food in a decimated wasteland feel a little sterile.

The absence of human interaction means it lacks the emotional impact of something like Schindler’s List, but it is a shocking and horrifying tale, made all the more so when you consider that Szpilman was actually one of the “lucky” ones.


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