The Pianist

Focus Features, R.P. Productions, Heritage Films, Studio Babelsberg, Runteam, Studio Canal, Bac Films, Canal+ Polska, Telewizja Polska, Agencja Produkcji Filmowej, Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg, FilmFe Released 2002


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Movie Summary

Roman Polanski

The Pianist is a 2002 film directed by Roman Polanski, based on the autobiography of the same name by Jewish-Polish musician Wladyslaw Szpilman, who is portrayed in the film by Adrien Brody. Szpilman is a pianist working for Warsaw Radio when World War II breaks out, and experiences the changes inflicted on the Jewish population, eventually being forced into the Warsaw Ghetto along with his family. They are subjected to hunger and humiliation, constantly in fear of being tortured or dying. Szpilmanâ��s family is deported with many others to an extermination facility, but he is saved at the last minute by one of the Jewish Ghetto Police who is an old family friend. He helps in the planning of an uprising of the Jews against the Germans, bringing in weapons and taking other risks to help the other captives. He decides to go into hiding outside of the ghetto with the help of non-Jews who know him as a former coworker. After the uprising occurs, circumstances deteriorate even further as the SS decimates the insurgents in the ghetto and beats and kills many Jews and others throughout Warsaw. While Wladyslaw is in hiding in various places, he has many close calls being caught and suffering from malnutrition. When Wilm Hosenfeld, a captain of the Wehrmacht, discovers him, the most unexpected quality is the one that may save him.



Metacritic Score

  • 90

    The New York Times Dana Stevens

    Polanski, who was a Jewish child in Krakow when the Germans arrived in September 1939, presents Szpilman's story with bleak, acid humor and with a ruthless objectivity that encompa...

  • 90

    Los Angeles Times Manohla Dargis

    Never before has a fiction film so clearly and to such devastating effect laid out the calculation of the Nazi machinery of death and its irrationality.

  • 50

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Surprisingly lacks a feeling of personal urgency and insight that would have made it a distinctive, even unique contribution to the considerable number of films that deal with the ...

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classical score, family tragedy, bloody and violent, isolation from society