The film begins in 1939, with Szpilman playing Chopin on the piano for Radio Warsaw, as the Germans bomb the city, and finally force him to stop playing. History has documented well what happened in Warsaw over the following two years - the Jewish ghetto was constructed and settled, racial laws were written and enforced, people died of starvation, illness, or Nazi murder. Then the "resettlement" roundups began. Szpilman was waiting at the Umshagplatz to be deported to Treblinka, with his family, when fate seemingly intervened, and he was spared. His survival story is a different kind of hell than others that I have seen or read about. Szpilman watches the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and subsequent destruction, from the outside, looking in. Usually, accounts of the Jewish uprising are from former fighters, or survivors, who were inside the ghetto at the time. I can only wonder if Szpilman longed to join his fellow Jews and fight the Nazis, rather than remain in his solitary apartment overlooking the ghetto, with his own end unknown.
The story is told from a uniquely unsentimental point of view. I felt at times that Szpilman, brilliantly portrayed by Adrien Brody, had distanced himself from all emotion, except for the periods when he played the piano in his imagination, and listened to music in his head.... Read more ›
Adrien Brody goes way beyond a performance and the film way beyond a movie. It is a masterpiece. I will never forget it.
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