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Mark Dujsik
12-29-2002, 06:52 PM
"One of the final title cards in Roman Polanskiís film The Pianist tells us that the titular character lived in Warsaw until his death in the year 2000 at the age of 88, and when we read it after watching his experiences in World War II Poland, it sits there without any kind of emotional resonance. It forces one to wonder why that is. Is it because the subject of the Holocaust has been explored so many times that new stories about it hold no weight? One of the things of which the film reminds us is that this is one chapter in history that needs to be told over and over again so that we may never forget. Is it because this specific angle of the story has been told before? The main character escapes the horrors of the concentration camps and spends the length of the war on the lamb. Itís not that either, because I, for one, am not entirely knowledgeable on this piece of history nor do I recall a film before this dealing with it. This truly is a remarkable tale of survival, full of powerful imagery and sorrowful experiences. That Polanski captures these moments on film with such strength is important, but thatís all the film ultimately adds up toóa series of experiences. What happened to the pianist and what he saw are clear, but who he is and what these experiences meant to him are absent."

Mark's Full Review (http://mark-reviews-movies.tripod.com/reviews/P/pianist.htm)

vbloom
01-20-2003, 06:41 PM
Mark, believe it or not, the film is not about the person of the pianist, hence he is shown with no depth, just the characteristic that he is a genius musician and is a survivor. Somehow people want this special person to escape destruction because he is valued. As a survivor he is the symbol of the survival of ART and CULTURE despite barbarism, devastation and inhuman cruelty. Art is shown as the saving grace of civilization, because the German officer who secreted a piano in his hideaway and who played Beethoven's "Moonlight" sonata, became the symbol of the thread or veneer of civilization that is still part of the German character. They faced each other not as Nazi and Jew, but as pianists, those who loved music and hath not music the power to soothe the savage beast? When the German heard the Jew play, he knew that the Jew was superior, in spite of all the propaganda of the degradation and inferiority of the Jews. The music put them on a level of equals under God or under Chopin or under Beethoven, all agents of the Almighty. The survival of Szpilman is the survival of music, art, culture, civilization--- it's almost Darwinian and is beyond the mere ordinariness or extraordinariness of earthly circumstances, the Holocaust not excepted.

Mark Dujsik
01-20-2003, 06:49 PM
Originally posted by vbloom
Mark, believe it or not, the film is not about the person of the pianist, hence he is shown with no depth, just the characteristic that he is a genius musician and is a survivor. Somehow people want this special person to escape destruction because he is valued. As a survivor he is the symbol of the survival of ART and CULTURE despite barbarism, devastation and inhuman cruelty. Art is shown as the saving grace of civilization, because the German officer who secreted a piano in his hideaway and who played Beethoven's "Moonlight" sonata, became the symbol of the thread or veneer of civilization that is still part of the German character. They faced each other not as Nazi and Jew, but as pianists, those who loved music and hath not music the power to soothe the savage beast? When the German heard the Jew play, he knew that the Jew was superior, in spite of all the propaganda of the degradation and inferiority of the Jews. The music put them on a level of equals under God or under Chopin or under Beethoven, all agents of the Almighty. The survival of Szpilman is the survival of music, art, culture, civilization--- it's almost Darwinian and is beyond the mere ordinariness or extraordinariness of earthly circumstances, the Holocaust not excepted.

Fine analysis, but to that I would argue, he represents something that he is rarely shown doing during the film? That scene between Szpillman and the German officer is a great one. And there are other great, powerful scenes in the film.

vbloom
01-20-2003, 07:23 PM
Mark, it is not necessary to show Szpilman playing the piano throughout the film. It was established at the beginning that Szpilman is a talented and popular pianist, and that is enough for him to become the symbol of music, art, culture, the importance of the musician, the pianist, to the world. If the audience appreciates this, it is hoping that he (music, art) survives. Sure enough, by hook or crook, by wile and guile, by accident and chance, he survives, and we are rooting for his survival, hoping that he will survive, for on his continued existence rests the hope of civilization. The fact that he is unable to play is tragic in itself. Miraculously, he plays as if he were not starved, weak or out of practice, that is the proof of his being a symbol, as well as a real person. As a real person, he would not have been able to play. The movie is powerful because of symbolism and philosophy, above and beyond the grim reality of the Holocaust.

tabuno
04-06-2003, 06:42 PM
I have to agree with Mark that by the end of this movie, I felt numb and without satisfaction. Something was missing in this movie.