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The Pianist (2002)

Cast: Adrien Brody, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, more...
Director: Roman Polanski, Roman Polanski
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Universal Studios
Genre: Drama, Foreign, British Drama, Poland, UK
Running Time: 150 min.
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

Filmmaker Roman Polanski, who as a boy growing up in Poland watched while the Nazis devastated his country during World War II, directed this downbeat drama based on the true story of a privileged musician who spent five years struggling against the Nazi occupation of Warsaw. Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody) is a gifted classical pianist born to a wealthy Jewish family in Poland. The Szpilmans have a large and comfortable flat in Warsaw which Wladyslaw shares with his mother and father (Maureen Lipman and Frank Finlay), his sisters Halina and Regina (Jessica Kate Meyer and Julia Rayner), and his brother, Henryk (Ed Stoppard). While Wladyslaw and his family are aware of the looming presence of German forces and Hitler's designs on Poland, they're convinced that the Nazis are a menace which will pass, and that England and France will step forward to aid Poland in the event of a real crisis. Wladyslaw's na´vetÚ is shattered when a German bomb rips through a radio studio while he performs a recital for broadcast. During the early stages of the Nazi occupation, as a respected artist, he still imagines himself above the danger, using his pull to obtain employment papers for his father and landing a supposedly safe job playing piano in a restaurant. But as the German grip tightens upon Poland, Wladyslaw and his family are selected for deportation to a Nazi concentration camp. Refusing to face a certain death, Wladyslaw goes into hiding in a comfortable apartment provided by a friend. However, when his benefactor goes missing, Wladyslaw is left to fend for himself and he spends the next several years dashing from one abandoned home to another, desperate to avoid capture by German occupation troops. The Pianist was based on the memoir of the same name by the real-life Wladyslaw Szpilman; the book was first published in 1946 as Death of a City, but was banned by Polish Communist officials and went out of print until 1998, when a new edition was issued as The Pianist. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (5.1 DTS ES), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround) Available subtitles: Spanish, French

Bonus materials include: "Story of Survival" featurette on the making of the film; Archival war footage

You might also enjoy:
Europa Europa
Agnieszka Holland's film is also based on a true tale of Holocaust survivor who hid his identity

Stirring, made-for-TV drama about real-life resistance by Warsaw Ghetto Jews

The Long Way Home
An excellent account of what happened to European Jews after the War

GreenCine Member Reviews

Gave me a more intimate understanding by davem January 14, 2004 - 1:17 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
I thought that this was a tremendous film -- unsentimental, honest, and unromanticized. It provides an intimate portrait of one man's struggle to survive in Poland during the war.

Polanski does a remarkable job of revealing many facets of life with its myriad moral ambiguities without ever seeming to have an explicit agenda.

This is truly a special film made with obvious passion and dedication -- as far a cry from Hollywood 'product' as you are likely to find in a narrative film.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.49)
374 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2002
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
Hal Hartley Hits and Other Kicks (Of Mine)
Great Movies Spanning Many Genres

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