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The Pianist

My sister recommended this movie to me. So I got interested and downloaded a copy, but I was not able to share it with her. LOL! This is a beautiful biographical film. Very inspiring. Here is the plot.

 Władysław Szpilman, a famous Polish Jewish pianist working for Warsaw Radio, sees his whole world collapse with the outbreak of World War II and the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. 

When the SS takes over Warsaw, living conditions for the Jewish population gradually deteriorate as their rights are slowly eroded: first they are allowed only a limited amount of money per family, then they must wear armbands imprinted with the blue Star of David to identify themselves, and eventually, they are all forced into the squalid Warsaw Ghetto. There, they face hunger, persecution and humiliation from the SS and the ever-present fear of death, torture and starvation.

Before long, the family, along with thousands of others, is rounded up for deportation to the extermination facility at Treblinka. As the Jews are being forced onto rail cars, Szpilman is saved at the last moment by one of the Jewish Ghetto Police, who happens to be a family friend. Separated from his family and loved ones, Szpilman manages to survive. At first he is pressed into a German reconstruction unit inside the ghetto as a slave labourer. During this period, another Jewish labourer confides to Szpilman that a Jewish uprising against the Germans is being actively prepared for.

Later, before the uprising starts, Szpilman decides to go into hiding outside the ghetto, relying on the help of non-Jews who still remember him such as an ex-coworker of his from the radio station. A year goes by and life in Warsaw further deteriorates. Szpilman is forced to flee his first hiding place. In his second hiding place, near a German military hospital, in a rare moment of humor, he is shown into a room with a piano and then told to be as quiet as possible. Of course, Szpilman can't resist opening the keyboard. Here, he nearly dies due to jaundice and malnutrition.

In August 1944, the Polish resistance mounts the Warsaw Uprising against the German occupation. Again, Szpilman narrowly escapes death when a German tank shells the apartment he is hiding in. After the surviving Warsaw population is deported from the city ruins, Szpilman is left entirely alone. In buildings still standing, he searches desperately for food. While trying to open a can of Polish pickles, Szpilman is discovered by a captain of the Wehrmacht, Wilm Hosenfeld (Kretschmann). Upon questioning Szpilman and discovering that he is a pianist, Hosenfeld asks Szpilman to play something for him on the grand piano that happens to be in the building.

Hosenfeld lets Szpilman continue hiding in the attic of the building and even brings him food regularly, thus saving his life. Another few weeks go by, and the German troops are forced to withdraw from Warsaw due to the advance of the Red Army troops. Before leaving the area, Hosenfeld asks Szpilman what his name is, and, upon hearing it, remarks that it is apt for a pianist. Hosenfeld also promises to listen for Szpilman on Polish Radio.

In the film's final scene, Szpilman triumphantly performs Chopin's Grand Polonaise brillante in E flat major to a large audience in Warsaw. Title cards shown just before the end credits reveal that Szpilman continued to live in Warsaw and died in 2000, but that Hosenfeld died in 1952 in a Soviet KGB prisoner-of-war camp.

The movie tells the story of the life of Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman during the World War II. This is another movie detailing the hardships of Jewish people during those times. Like others, several scenes depict how Jews are discriminated, clumped in concentration camps, and exploited. But unlike the others, the main character is not portrayed as a hero or a savior. He is simply a war survivor, a once well-to-do, law-abiding citizen who is plunged into circumstances he could not avoid. Much of his escapes are really help extended by friends. He did not fight with arms; his weapon was only his will and determination to survive.

As it is based on true story, the movie is realistic and believable. Bloodsheds are spared which makes it more pleasant to watch. The movie is pure drama, and the audience is filled with sadness throughout the movie.

This is an award-winning movie, including several Academy Awards, and Adrien Brody’s (the main actor) performance is well-acclaimed and awarded as well. This is a very educational film, deep, moving, and inspiring.


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