Monday, December 7, 2009

The Pianist

Day 340 - 12/6/09 - Movie #340

BEFORE: Last night's movie, as I mentioned, was over 3 hours long. Yes, it's an important story, but how about a little editing? You know, tighten it up...but I guess that's what my weekends are for. Tonight's film is a slightly more reasonable 2 1/2 hours.

THE PLOT: A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.

AFTER: I admit I had this movie pegged wrong, I thought it was a concentration camp movie - but it's about Wladyslaw Spizlman (Adrien Brody) doing everything possible to AVOID being sent to a camp, after his entire family is sent to one.

There are a lot of similarities to last night's film, with Jews being first confined to a Polish ghetto, then shipped off as the Nazis build labor camps. But this is a tale of one man's survival, first in the ghetto, and then living in secret in various abandoned apartments around Warsaw. He becomes something of an eyewitness to history, watching from his window as the city is bombed, set afire, and eventually taken by the Russian army.

Various members of the resistance set him up in apartments, where he is locked in for weeks at a time, and unable to leave to get food or medical help. Irony comes when he learns that one of his safehouses has a piano, but he is told that he must not play it, for fear of being discovered.

REAL irony comes when you realize this film was directed by Roman Polanski, currently living under house arrest in Switzerland...

Another very powerful movie, one that I thinked worked better than "Schindler's List", because it found a way to narrow the focus down to one man's struggle to survive, from which we can extrapolate. The character's hunger, isolation and desperation really come across.

RATING: 8 out of 10 sacks of potatoes

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