Sat, 20 Apr, 2024

The Pianist: Story of Real Survivor Musician of World War II

By Ashmita Kunwar

I felt lucky and proud to be a Nepali after watching the movie “The Pianist”.  Though we are economically poor and there are some internal issues at present, I am grateful that we are neither like heartless Nazis with no feelings, nor are we like the ancient Jews who were the slaves of the Germans, who had to live such controlled life with pain. The pain of Jews during World War II was no less than hypothetical pain that humans receive in hell. The country which gave birth to the man named “Hitler”, I reckon, still grieves on having someone who carried the World War and killed millions of innocent people with no reason. The movie “The Pianist”, I suspected, would have a diverse story besides devastating, touching, and remorseful situation that Nazis had put the Jews through during the World War II.  The title itself gives us an idea that it might be the story of a pianist, someone who plays the piano, and indeed, it is.  The movie narrates the story of the Jew Polish musician, but not the one which is romantic or a musical. The movie covers the story of the pianist named Wladyaslaw Szpilman who survives the Holocaust by luck and his strong will to live. Moreover, I would say his passion in music, in playing the piano, helps him survive the calamity. The movie starts with Szpilman playing Chopin in the Warson Radio station when the Germans first attack. This was the beginning of the World War II. He has a family with father, mother, one brother and two sisters. He goes back home and hears that Germany is going to be attacked by France and Britain. He then hopes everything to be shot down soon. Some days later, there enter the German troops and the life of Jews come totally under their control. Jews are not allowed to work and have their own business and are told to wear blue star armbands. The situation grows devastatingly difficult day by day. Jews are forced to leave their house and forced to go on Warsaw ghettos, where the condition is very poor, starving people lying in the street, with pain, sadness, hunger, dead bodies everywhere. Slowly, the situation gets more remorseful when all Jews are told to move to another camp. However, the luck of Szpileman works at the moment because his friend saves him by not permitting him to go. But then again, the situation becomes very sad for him because his whole family is taken away from him.  From this instant his struggle to survive begins. There he becomes a slave laborer and helps the troops in smuggling the weapons. He later manages to escape from there with the help of his friend Andrzej and his wife Janima. He hides in different places to protect himself from Nazis. He is starved; his body gets worse day by day from jaundice. He shifts to many places evading from the Germans. After few months, the whole city gets ruined. He alone remains, desperately searching for food to eat and shelter to live. When he finds something to eat, he gets caught by a German officer named Wilm Hosenfeld, the only German who had a heart in this movie. He tells him to play the piano, and so he plays it. Hosenfeld after hearing the music asks him to hide and regularly nourishes him with food. Due to his kindness, the pianist gets his life back. Finally, the Russians appear to save Jews and they sack the Germans. This is the Oscar winning movie and every little thing about the movie was perfect. One thing that I liked the most about the movie is it starts with Wladyaslaw Szpilman playing Chopin in the radio station with a kind of pleasure on his face and the movie ends in the same pattern Szpilman playing Chopin. Another good point is the actor (Adrian Brody) whom director Polanski chose for the role of Wladyaslaw Szpilman was perfect as he resembles with same real life survivor the pianist Wladyaslaw Szpilman. Andrien Brody as Wladyaslaw Szpilman, the pianist, the hero of the movie has justified the character in all possible ways. By information, it was said that Polanski selected Brody out of 1,400 actors. The story had the deep connection with the director of the movie Roman Polanski, who escaped from the Ghetto as a child after the death of his mother. He faced the reality and through this movie he portrayed the Jewish condition, struggles and pain they had to suffer to survive.  Setting, character, and music, everything was perfect in the movie; it seemed that everything shown in the movie was real and not filmed. Great movie!