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Peter Malone是 SIGNIS主 席 , 有 31 年 影 評 的 經 驗 , 並 出 任 16 個 國 際 影 展 如 柏 林 影 展 、 威 尼 斯 影 展 的 評 判 , 可 以 堪 稱 為 「 電 影 百 科 全 書 」 !

The Pianist


by Peter Malone,17-3-2003

The Pianist

Director: Roman Polanski
Cast: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann
Duration: 148 minutes

The events portrayed in this film took place sixty years ago during one of the greatest horror stories and tragedies of the 20th century, the Holocaust. Each decade has produced its cinema version of these events: the 1970s miniseries, Holocaust, Sophie's Choice in the 1980s and, of course, Schindler's List in the 1990s. The survivors are now growing older and dying. These films contribute to keeping our consciences alert, 'Lest we forget'.

One person who has not forgotten is Polish film director, Roman Polanksi, who will turn seventy this year. As a little boy, Polanski himself escaped the bombing of Warsaw with his father and joined his mother in the ghetto in Kracow. She later died in the camps. He was helped by non-Jewish friends in Krakow and survived. Pain has followed Polanski. When he was thirty-five, his wife Sharon Tate was brutally murdered by Charles Manson and his followers. Some of this suffering went into his films, especially his violent version of Macbeth made after his wife's death.

With The Pianist, Polanski is able, at last, to share something of his childhood story. The telling, however, while it has terrible moments of Nazi atrocities towards the Jews, is done in a more traditional, classical way of film-making, not what might expect from the often bizarre Polanski. The screenplay, by England's Ronald Harwood, is straightforward in its narrative. The film uses many authentic Warsaw locations as well as computer graphic effects that re-create the impact of the invasion of the city. The Pianist won the Palme D'Or in Cannes in 2002.

But it is not Polanski's story. As director, he is almost anonymous. What he has done is to take the opportunity to tell his own childhood story through the memoirs of an actual Jewish pianist, Wladislaw Szpilman (who died in July 2000). Throughout the film Szpilman and Polanski seem to be observers of Warsaw's suffering rather than participants in it. While this gives a different perspective on the deportations, the ghetto uprising, the Polish resistance and the entry of the Russians to liberate the city, the film spends a lot of time with the pianist's lone exile and patient survival, hidden in apartments and dependent on kind and fearful neighbours. With Szpilman, we frequently look out of windows, helpless in the face of what we see.

Szpilman is played by American actor, Adrien Brody, who enters deeply into his character, portraying the grief at the upheaval of his family, playing music in the cafe's of Warsaw, using his fingers to 'play' silently with the music inside his head offering him some sanity and consolation. As in the film, in real life Szpilman was discovered by a Nazi officer who was moved by his music and protected him before he himself disappeared into the Russian camps.

This is a film of great sadness and beauty and and one comes away with a deep sense of the inhumanity of the Nazis, the humiliation of the Jews and their suffering.





























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