The paper "The Pianist by Roman Polanski" is an excellent example of a movie review on visual arts and film studies. The Pianist is set in Poland during the period of the Second World War. The film, directed by the well-known Roman Polanski, focuses on the struggle of Wladyslaw Szpilman throughout the German occupation of Poland. Szpilman, played by Adrien Brody, goes from being a famous piano player to a hunter and scavenger. There are many times throughout the movie where Szpilman seems to lose all hope, yet he manages to survive to tell the story about what occurred in those times. The Pianist is a great film about hope and shows how humans can do anything to survive, even when their environment is filled with despair.
The beginning of the film sees Szpilman working at Warsaw Radio on the day of the German invasion of Poland, 1 September 1939. However, Szpilman and his family are encouraged when the United Kingdom, along with France, declare war on the Germans. The reason for this is because they think that the war will be over soon and life will go back to normal. Once the Germans took over Warsaw, the life of Szpilman and his family because worse and worse every single day. The director gives the audience an impression of this when a scene shows German SS officers murdering an entire family living next door to Szpilman. After some time, Szpilman and his family are taken to trains bound for the concentration camp at Treblinka. However, a friendly police officer manages to pull Szpilman out of line before he can get on the train. The next scene shows Szpilman hiding in a restaurant for three days. The acting in this scene, not to mention further scenes, is top-notch. For the preparation of the film, Adrien Brody lost a lot of weight and lived as simple a life as possible in order to connect with the character that he was due to play.
Once he manages to avoid capture by German officers, Szpilman finds a job working in a hard labor camp. When he is there, he happens to discover that there is a plan to rise up against the Germans. Once Szpilman hears this, he immediately agrees to help smuggle in weapons. Before the start of the uprising, Szpilman decides to find a place to live outside of the ghetto with the help of his Polish friends who knew him before the war began. It is here that the performance of Brody is at its best. He is forced to live alone but moves around from place to place in order to avoid detection by any Germans or unsympathetic Poles. It is during this time that Szpilman witnesses many killings of Jewish people and those who helped to shelter them. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising sees almost all the remaining Jews exterminated who still lived in the city. At one of his hiding places, close to a German army hospital, he is told to stay put in a room that contains a piano. As Szpilman was one of the most famous piano players in Warsaw, this was an incredible temptation. The camera shots of this scene were quite well done. Szpilman goes to sit down near the piano and the sound of his playing rings out. After some time, the camera pans down and the audience sees that he is not really playing the piano at all—he is only hearing the tune as he places his fingers above the keys.
During the next few scenes, the audience begins to understand the pain that Szpilman must be going through. He gets weaker and weaker and almost dies of starvation because of it. In the aftermath of the Warsaw uprising, Szpilman is left in a virtual ghost town. In one of the movie’s most touching scenes, Szpilman is caught by a German officer, Captain Wilm Hosenfeld, when attempting to open a can of pickles. To Szpilman’s surprise, the German asks what he does for a job. When Szpilman replied that he used to play the piano, the German captain shows him to a piano and asks him to play something. Once Szpilman plays a classic Chopin piece, Captain Hosenfeld decides to spare Szpilman’s life.
Above all, this film is a human triumph over the greatest of challenges. All of Szpilman’s emotions are displayed for the viewers to see. The underlying message is that no matter what the circumstances are, we should not give up on our dreams. At the end of the movie, Szpilman goes back to his radio station and begins playing the piece he did not finish when the Germans invaded.