Pianist (The) (english version)

Pianist (The) (english version)
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Pianist (The) (english version)
France, 2002
De Roman Polanski
Avec : Adrien Brody, Emilia Fox, Thomas Kretschmann
Durée : 2h28
Note FilmDeCulte : ****--

The true story of Wladislaw Szpilman, a Jewish pianist who survived during four years hidden in the Warsaw ghetto.

Roman Polanski had thought once of directing Schindler’s List before letting Steven Spielberg make his masterpiece. This Pianist, whose setting closely reminds us of Schindler, is Polanski’s way of finally dealing with the darkest period of his life, one that he has never until this day truly evoked in any of his movies.

In the same fashion as Szpilman, Polanski narrowly escaped being deported to a concentration camp. The Pianist is entirely shot through with this still living wound in Polanski’s heart. But it’s the film’s personal background that’s at the same time its strength and its weakness. Polanski is obviously still very profoundly marked by his ordeal and seems to lack a little distance in his portrayal of the time. The two first thirds of the movie often resemble, as horrible as it is to say, a “best-of” the German occupation of Poland with a bunch of awkward scenes that never flow in a natural way.

It’s the movie’s directing, which is magnificently sober, that saves the picture. The battle scenes, for example, are never seen from elsewhere than from Szpilman’s window in the apartment he’s been hiding in for too long. As the movie advances, Polanski slowly pushes his main character to the absolute limit and thus produces a final half-hour which is simply beautiful. Adrien Brody is perfect in the role of this real-life pianist who gets confronted with evil and suffering in its most horrendous form.

The general impression at the end of the movie is that of a piece of work very different from what we usually expect from Polanski but that is somehow too sincere to be truly disturbing.

par Yannick Vély