The true story of famed Jewish musician Wladyslaw Szpilman, who tragically lost everything when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939.
The Pianist (2002)
Directed by Roman Polanski
Written by Ronald Harwood
Starring Adrien Brody, Emilia Fox, Michael Zebrowski,
Thomas Kretschmann, Ed Stoppard, Maureen Lipman,
Frank Finlay, Jessica Kate Meyer, Daniel Caltagirone
Based on the book by Wladyslaw Szpilman
Oscar Wins - Best Actor (Adrien Brody),
Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Cinematography,
Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing
The Pianist is the film that finally nabbed Roman Polanski Oscar gold for directing, and it's the film for which he's most deserving of it. This film is eye-opening and a difficult watch at times, as it shows through the eyes of one man the horrors of the Holocaust and the treatment of Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II. Wladyslaw Szpilman was one of millions whose lives were irreparably destroyed by the Nazis, and his inspiring and heartfelt story is told in a way that only Polanski, a survivor of the Nazi occupation himself, could've done.
Adrien Brody delivers the performance of his career as Szpilman, playing a broken man whose spirit is holding on by a thread as his world is shattered around him piece by piece. All he has left is hope, and hope can be maddening. The most incredible part of Szpilman's story is the Nazi officer who saved his life, Capt. Wilhelm Hosenfeld (Thomas Kretschmann). While this unbelievable act of humanity is only shown briefly in the film, it defines our own basic human need to help others. Hosenfeld, a Nazi, decided to sneak food to Szpilman, a Jew, on the eve of the war's end. Incredible. Alongside Brody, the other performances were stellar and believable.
The Pianist is one of the definitive portrayals of the Holocaust, as it never holds back the truth of the atrocities, though unlike a film like Schindler's List, The Pianist is told through the eyes of one man experiencing these horrors personally. The audience connects with Szpilman and we view the Holocaust along with him. Szpilman was a remarkably talented musician who lived another four decades before he finally died in 2000 of natural causes. A true inspiration to the human spirit, and this film is a true and proper monument to his strength and survival.