The Pianist 2002

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(263) IMDb 8.5/10
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This moving and haunting story of survival is based on concert pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman's memoirs. Escaping deportation, the musician is left behind in the Warsaw ghetto and forced to hide in empty flats to evade capture while scavenging for food.

Jessica Kate M,Emilia Fox
2 hours 22 minutes

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The Pianist

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama, International, Historical
Director Roman Polanski
Starring Jessica Kate M, Emilia Fox
Supporting actors Frank Finlay, Thomas Kretschmann, Maureen Lipman, Jessica Kate Meyer, Julia Rayner, Ed Stoppard, Adrien Brody
Studio StudioCanal
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 73 people found the following review helpful By L. Davidson VINE VOICE on 10 Nov 2004
Format: DVD
Unlike the previous reviewer, I have decided to go for the Full Monty and give "The Pianist" a 5 star rating. The film is a biopic of the talented Jewish pianist Wladislaw Szpilman ,set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of Warsaw throughout World War Two. The full scale of the persecution of the Polish Jews during this period is laid bare, as verbal abuse turned to physical assault, dehumanisation , ghettoisation and ultimately extermination."The Pianist" is the story of Szpilman's personal experience of these times as he is thrown from the cosseted surroundings of his prime time slot playing Chopin on Polish Rundfunk into the grim surroundings of the Warsaw ghetto with all its deprivation,uncertainty and terror.As he gets separated from his family and friends, a primeval and astonishing lust for survival consumes Szpilman as he faces all manners of peril."The Pianist" is a gripping film from beginning to end with Adrien Brody playing Szpilman with great skill and emotion as chaos and confusion engulf his well ordered life. It is as harrowing, but not as graphic as "Schindlers List" , but it captures perfectly the demonic nature of the Nazis and the sense of dread and terror that surrounded their occupation. However I rated "The Pianist" so highly because of the thread of metaphysical symbolism that ran through it. Szpilman and his music were the corporeal expression of the human spirit, perhaps even of the Holy Spirit, surrounded by an almost supernatural hate, forced into hiding , stalked by terror, but never extinguished.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Poldy on 16 Feb 2006
Format: DVD
The Pianist is Wladislaw Szpilman, a young man from a Jewish family who works as a musician in Warsaw. The early part of the film shows that increasing tension as the Nazi menace spreads ever closer, until the invasion finally happens. At this point, Szpilman loses his recording opportunities, and has to take up a job in a restaurant, playing tunes to diners who aren’t listening. Day by day the degradation grows ever worse, with Szpilman’s father (Frank Finlay) being forced to walk in the gutter, and other mistreatment of increasingly desperate Jews. The Warsaw ghetto is set up, with able-bodied men and women forced to work in degrading positions, until the ghetto is cleared and everyone is sent off to the camps. Szpilman himself is spared by an old friend, now a Jewish policeman (basically a collaborator), who tells him to get away. The young man manages to find shelter in a variety of safe houses, until the end of the war.
The film is far less harrowing than Schindler’s List, though infinitely better in every way. The underlying theme is the strength of the human spirit in the face of terrible adversity, which keeps a kind of optimism in the mind of the viewer. Allied to this is the knowledge that the film is based on a true story, as Szpilman survived as a professional pianist until his death in 2000. Watching this film is to see just how strong and determined some people can be. Director Polanski also went through a similar experience, though in a different ghetto, and also lost most of his family to the death camps. The extras include an excellent behind the scenes documentary, looking at the lives of both Polanski and Szpilman, and this really brings home the true terror and evil of the Nazi’s acts.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 1 Sep 2004
Format: VHS Tape
At the beginning of World War II, about four hundred thousand Jews lived in Warsaw, where they represented one-third of the population. By the end of the war, fewer than twenty-five of them had survived. Director Roman Polanski tells the story of one of these men, focusing on how the various atrocities of the Holocaust affected him. In this sense the film is dramatically different from previous Holocaust films, since it does not attempt to give the "big picture," nor does it show how a family or small group of friends supported each other, emotionally, during the war (as does Anne Frank's Diary). Instead, it focuses on how one artist, a pianist named Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody), survived starvation and death for five years, becoming increasingly more isolated, both emotionally and physically, and increasingly helpless to act, even on his own behalf.
Ronald Harwood's screenplay begins with a broad picture of the life of an artistic Jewish family of some means, but as the Nazis issue directive after directive, the family must abandon, first, its possessions, then its home, then its neighborhood, and eventually each other. This increasingly narrow, inward focus to the film develops extraordinary tension. Once he escapes from the line of prisoners bound for Treblinka, Szpilman is completely alone, dependent on the help of others--including sympathetic Gentiles who jeopardize their own lives to hide and feed him--and he never knows from day to day if he will survive starvation, illness, and the cold. Eventually, late in the war, a German reservist, Captain Wilm Hosenfeld (Thomas Kretschmann), finds him hiding in an attic, asks him to play Chopin for him, and eventually brings him food for several weeks, until the Russians arrive and take the Germans themselves prisoner.
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