The Pianist (2002)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

France/Poland/Germany/United Kingdom2002, , , Runteam, Canal+, StudioCanal, Bac Films, , Telewizja Polska, , , , Filmförderungsanstalt.  Screenplay by , based on the book by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , Roman Polanski, .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Wladislaw Szpilman, a Polish Jew living with his family in 1940s Warsaw, has his life as a famous pianist turned completely around when Nazis invade and the city is turned into a war zone. This excellent film by Roman Polanski, which features more depth and skill than the director has shown in many years, details the Szpilman family’s life from being moved to the ghetto through to them being split apart and sent to the camps.  Wladislaw (Adrien Brody) is the only one who does not join the rest of his group, rescued by a friend and living in hiding until the end of the war when a curious twist of fate has his great talent serve him as a lifesaver. Brody’s performance is so fantastic that it literally gives this beautiful film its beating pulse; even when he spends endless amounts of time alone without any dialogue to work with, he is bringing us into his emotional state of being and making us feel what he is going through. Polanski hasn’t earned this much reverence as a film artist since maybe the days of Chinatown or Tess, and there’s no denying that this excellent film, which touches on his own experiences as a Holocaust survivor, is the best film on the subject right next to Schindler’s List (barring all the excellent documentaries). It’s a harrowing experience and one that unflinchingly details the unfathomable horrors of the Third Reich, but one filled with love and hope at the same time.

Academy Awards:  Best Actor (Adrien Brody); Best Director (Roman Polanski); Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Cinematography; Best Costume Design; Best Film Editing

Cannes Film Festival Award:  Palme D’Or

European Film Award:  Best European Cinematographer
Nominations: Best European Film; Best European Director (Roman Polanski)

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Picture-Drama; Best Actor-Drama (Adrien Brody)

Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination:  Best Actor (Adrien Brody)


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