*** Official "THE PIANIST" Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Crawford, Dec 27, 2002.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "The Pianist" please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.
    All HTF member film reviews of "The Pianist" should be posted to the Official Review Thread.
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
    Crawdaddy
     
  2. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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    Spoilers...
    I saw this film yesterday and was stunned. It was so sad and so fascinating, and horrifying. Scenes keep playing themselves in my head and I feel like crying. I cried often while watching the film, even though the story is told in a matter-of-fact manner. I've seen death and destruction in films before, but somehow this movie made each death meaningful and memorable. I don't think any movie death has shocked me as much as the old man in the wheelchair, unless it was the woman who asked where they were being taken. Again, stunned is the only word I can think of to convey my reaction. I liked the fact that the movie didn't go off and follow other characters or events. It was all about Wladislaw Szpilman and his struggle to survive, a struggle that was at times violent, but more often was quietly desperate. I felt as much panic when he dropped the can of food (I didn't see what it was) and the liquid was pouring out as I did when he was running through the streets at night. Finding a good hiding place will do you no good at all if you starve to death while there and I thought "oh no, he's going to need that liquid! pick it up quick!" Of course, the next scene made me understand why he didn't pick it up. Besides the murders and the destruction of beautiful old buildings I also was shocked at the man who raised money for the pianist, then took the money and left him to starve. How could someone do such a thing? Pure evil is almost easier to understand and comprehend than greed and neglect like that.
    I've liked Adrien Brody before (especially in Summer of Sam) but was profoundly impressed by him here. I hadn't known about Szpilman's story and was interested to read (in the review thread) that the movie was fairly accurate to his life.
    This isn't a complaint, but I had to wonder if there's a longer cut. It seemed a bit jarring when Szpilman goes back to the cafe where he played piano, and hides under the stage with the manager, then the next scene is in broad daylight and he's taking a cablecar! Hmmmhuh? Also, I didn't get exactly how long the Warsaw uprising lasted. I suppose that's my woeful education of the uprising lacking, but I still would like to have been told how long it went on. Was it days? Weeks? I'm going to find out.
    I loved the way way the ending titles were done, with the credits to one side, and Janusz Olejniczak's hands (I'm assuming they were his) playing the piano. I know little about classical music, so I don't know the name of the piece, but it was mesmerizing. I was torn between wanting to close my eyes and let the music wash over me, and keeping my eyes glued to the screen watching his hands. I don't think there was anyone who left the theater while the credits rolled. When the lights came on and I stood up and turned around (I was in the very front), the theater was still full. I've never seen that happen before.
    This is a movie to think about and contemplate. I made the huge mistake of seeing Chicago immediately afterwards. Chicago was a very good movie, but that movie's fun, shallow, "razzle-dazzle" dulled my experience of seeing The Pianist. I should have seen The Pianist last. I'm sure I'll see it again.
    I desperately hope that Polanski and Brody are remembered come Oscar time. I'm not one to say "I'll lose all respect for them if they don't, blahdeblahblah" but it would be nice if they were recognized. Well-earned and appropriate.
     
  3. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    I wasn't quite so impressed - it was a good movie, but it didn't exactly get me in the gut the way The Grey Zone did. Part of the problem was that Szpilman is such a blank, and spends much of the movie being so passive. Aside from his talent, there's just nothing to this guy; Brody's attempt to make him at least seem somewhat charming in the beginning falls flat.

    Parts of the film were arresting, and in movie terms I really liked how much of the second half is done without dialogue, and Brody really shines there.

     
  4. MikeRS

    MikeRS Screenwriter

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    I think it will win Best Picture as long as Hollywood doesn't bring up Polanski's "past".

    I consider Schindler's List a masterpiece, but I think THE PIANIST is the greater Holocaust film.
     
  5. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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    I hope he's nominated, comes over here and gets it all straightened out. Even the girl he raped, now a beautiful and level-headed woman, wants him to be able to enter America freely. I have on tape an interview she gave a few years ago, and she said that she does not hate him, and has forgiven him, and wishes him well. That's good enough for me. I'd like to see his "past" dealt with in a fair and intelligent way, with her wishes for him taken into account.
     
  6. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    I think the strength of The Pianist lies in two aspects. First, it's impeccable mise en scene. Compared to The Grey Zone, the entire movie just envelops the audience into their world. Seldom do the environment feel like sets. Second is its detailing of life before the utmost horrific events. The characters are unaware of what will happen, but we know. This really helped make every line and reaction of the family to become more powerful for myself. I think The Pianist also touches upon The Grey Zone issues (Primo Levi's written works still surpass these movies by miles and miles) without becoming too sentimental and/or concerned with the false hopes of the Jews involved.

    What I was somewhat surprised at, however, was that the film doesn't utilize music enough. The idea of this music lover and the Holocaust led me thinking that music could be used to sublime levels, yet the film never reaches it. Perhaps I had seem a clips here and there, but even in the most crucial scene of the picture, the marriage of horrors and the beauty of music didn't effect me as emotional piece; it certainly serves its purpose in the plot. Overall, I feel The Pianist is a good film with great intentions, but fails to the highest level of this subject.
     
  7. Nick C.

    Nick C. Second Unit

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    Perhaps the lack of music towards the end, as the Soviet army invaded, servied to magnify Szpilman's emotional barrenness at the moment, as he was so physically debilitated with hunger and recovering from jaundice. Maybe more notable, it made Szpilman's concerto performance for the Nazi officer more powerful, as contrast is drawn between tense silence and, what effectively became, a life-saving piano piece
     
  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  9. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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  10. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Well Jason, I guess that’s what makes a horse race. For me the film was compelling and I was involved all the way.

    I have to admit that I have not seen The Grey Zone, and based on your (and other) comments, I guess that I’ll have to rectify that error.
     
  11. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    The film is stripped of sentimentality and melodrama and is all the more better for it. Its power comes not from how it tries to manipulate its audience but how one in his or her own way interprets the actions of Szpilman and the events that unfold around him.

    ~Edwin
     
  12. Colin-H

    Colin-H Second Unit

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    I don’t think Szpilman’s blankness is an artistic choice by Polanski; rather, it is an element of the story. He survived because he didn’t let his emotions unravel him. Love would’ve sent Szpilman to his end via freight train, pride would’ve shot him in the head, and dignity would’ve exploded him with a hand grenade. Jason, you ask, “why follow this guy when everyone around him seems like they would make a better subject for a movie?” The answer is simple: He survived.
     
  13. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I was late to my showing, I walked into the room as they were anouncing on the radio that "Poland is no longer alone". Anyone cares to tell me what I missed?

    --
    Holadem
     
  14. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Sure. It was the announcement that Britain had entered the war.

    Basically the British government gave the German government a deadline within which to respond, stating that they would withdraw their troops or ‘a state of war would exist’.

    Chamberlain came on the radio and made the announcement of the deadline and then said as that time was past and the government had not received any communication, that the country was at war with Germany.

    That is why the family relaxed.
     
  15. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Thanks Lew, I am actually quite familiar with the events of that time, my question was more about the movie [​IMG]
    I saw a movie a long time ago that started with people listening to the radio during the blitzkrieg. As a matter of fact it was in Poland. Very moving broadcast by a grim anchor whose country was virtually powerless against a formidable foe. He was eventually cut by the german demoralizing propaganda seemingly broadcast on the same frequency - they must have stormed the radio station. The bomb sirens were wailing during that whole sequence. I wish I remebered the title, it was really a long time ago.
    I am a sucker for stuff like that, and was wondering if it was featured in the movie.
    --
    Holadem
     
  16. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  17. Pete-D

    Pete-D Screenwriter

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    Is the music (the score music) in the trailers for "The Pianist" availible on the soundtrack for the film or is it from another movie?
     
  18. Richard_D_Ramirez

    Richard_D_Ramirez Second Unit

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    According to the trailer music list on SoundtrackNet, the music used on The Pianist trailer was from two sources: Chopin's original work Nocturne in C-Sharp Minor, and James Newton Howard's score from the film Restoration.
    8^B
     
  19. AaronNWilson

    AaronNWilson Second Unit

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    what is the name of the piece he plays for the german officer?
     
  20. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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