Wow. I'm not sure what to say after this film.
It's something way too serious to be "graded."
Honest, sincere, probably often accurate portrayal of
the atrocious treatment of Polish Jews by occupying
Nazi Germans in 1939 and the years following as seen
through the eyes of pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman
(Adrian Brody). Himself a Polish Jew.
Bleak, depressing, yet compelling. Very well
constructed, well acted and filmed. I've seen Adrian
Brody perform marvelously in other films and am glad
to see him getting some attention for his work
The film clocks in around 2.5 hours. It's hard to
watch, but important. You'll leave wanting to hug
your family and play a musical instrument -- both
with great passion.
"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 I 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
the horror, it is a positive account, full of
I survived the bombing of Warsaw and the Cracow
Ghetto and I 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 have never done, and
don't intend to do, anything autobiographical, but
making THE PIANIST I could use the experiences I went
through. While visiting Cracow scouting for
locations, my childhood memories resurfaced. What I
felt, walking along the streets of the former Ghetto,
proved that I couldn't shoot the film in Cracow.
In addition to my own recollections, I could rely
on the authenticity of Szpilman's account. He wrote
it just after the war - perhaps that's why the story
is so strong, so genuine, and so fresh. He describes
the reality of this period with surprising - almost
cool and scientific - objectivity. There are decent
Poles and evil Poles in his book, decent and evil
Jews, decent and evil Germans.
Before we began the shoot, we consulted historians
and survivors of the Ghetto. I also showed the whole
crew documentary footage of the Warsaw Ghetto. As for
the actor to play Szpilman, I wasn't looking for a
physical resemblance. I wanted a young actor who
could slip into the skin of the character as I
imagined him. It was important that he not be a
household name. As the film was to be shot in
English, we needed someone who spoke the language
fluently. We organized a casting call in London - "no
experience necessary." 1400 people showed up. After
the auditions, we realized it would be difficult to
find someone with absolutely no experience, so we
broadened our search to professional actors. I didn't
find anyone in Britain, so we extended our search to
the United States. When I saw some of Adrien Brody's
work, I didn't hesitate: he was THE PIANIST.
THE PIANIST is a testimony to the power of music,
the will to live, and the courage to stand against
evil." -- Roman Polanski
(This film viewed at Alhambra's Edwards
Renaissance Stadium 14)