The Pianist is a historically based film that captivates the audience with its intense, riveting scenes. The movie outlines Hitler’s policies against the Jewish race during the holocaust in the late 1930’s. It focuses on the lives of one particular Jewish family during the period in which Hitler invades and occupies the Polish community of Warsaw. The title was inspired by the career of the main character before and after the Holocaust.
The film chronicles the experiences of a Jewish pianist and his survival through the Holocaust with determination and the help of others, while millions of other Jews perish. The theme is portrayed effectively throughout the movie. The merciless treatment of the Jewish people convinces the audience to empathize with the characters in the movie. The movie begins with the pianist, Szpilman, in the studio playing the piano while the community of Warsaw is being bombed.
A woman who will help him later in the movie approaches The Pianist’ is a cinematic masterpiece by the Polish director Roman Polanski. One of the key ideas that appear throughout much of the film is that of ‘hope being instrumental in our survival’. This idea is portrayed through Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish pianist, as he struggles for survival in Warsaw as everybody that he once knew and everything that he once had is lost.
The idea of ‘hope being instrumental in our survival’ is worth learning about as it allows the audience to realise the importance of hope in todays society – and to understand how Polanski uses music to symbolise ‘hope’ for Szpilman in the film. Polanski effectively utilises an array of visual and oral text features such as music, dialogue, and lighting to build further emphasis on this theme. ‘The Pianist’ is an honest depiction of the events that occurred during the Holocaust, through the eyes of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Jewish concert pianist living in Warsaw, Poland.
As the movie starts we see him in a radio studio beautifully playing the piano. But then the tanks start shooting, the bombs start falling, and the studio is damaged. He can no longer avoid the rapidly escalating situation. Germany is invading his homeland. His time as a concert pianist and radio performer has come to a sudden end. The first half of the movie focuses on the impact of the war on him and his family’s lives and the suffering of others, whilst the second half purely revolves around Szpilman’s struggle for survival and the hope in which he draws from music.
Polanski heavily emphasises this idea, getting across the message that Szpilman would not be alive if were not for the hope in which he holds to – even if at times if at times it is by a tiny thread. The most obvious feature used to enhance the idea of ‘hope being instrumental in our survival’ is that of music. After being forced to desert his family and having to live in isolation with his survival being questioned almost every day, it is perhaps only the
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 12 January 2017
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