Books and Movies Reviews

The Pianist and World War II

The film The Pianist (2002) Roman Polanski is an adaptation of the memoirs of Wladyslaw Szpilman a Jewish pianist who lived through the Nazi occupation of Poland during WWII. According to the sources, Roman Polanski supplemented the story with a few anecdotal events that had occurred in his life during WWII as a boy. (INMB, NP) The film is characteristic of other period films of WWII and especially those of the Jewish experience. Polanski frequently tried to stay within the confines of the real experience and the real words of Szpilmam who apparently frequently stated when witnessing particularly adamant German Nazi sympathizers in action, "The all want to be better Nazi's that Hitler."
The story line of the film is the life of one Jewish family during WWII in Warsaw Poland. The family began the war rather well off with Wlad working as a rather famous pianist for a radio station and other unknown income. Yet, as the war moved on and restrictions on Jews became fiercer the situation dimmed considerably as did the situation for all Jews. Wlad hoped to help the cause of Jewish liberation but was often stymied by the fact that he was to well known, a scene late in the film when he goes to a resistant office in the ghetto tells of this frustration. When the Warsaw Ghetto is evacuated mostly to the concentration camps the Wlad tries to stay and lives off scavenged food from bombed out buildings until he was befriended by a German officer who heard him play the piano and gave him food to survive.
The feelings and occurrence that are depicted in the film are poignant as the family declines financially, from a relatively wealthy and secure state, discussing where to hide their remaining cash when leaving their home to allow German's to search or seize it and then later after all Jews have been financially stifled by the restrictive rulings of the "Warsaw District President" they discuss what they can buy for…

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