The Pianist is a 2002 film directed by Roman Polanski, starring Adrien Brody. It is an adaptation of the autobiography of the same name by Jewish-Polish musician Władysław Szpilman. The flim is a re-enactment of Wladyslaw Szpliman’s memoirs during his survival of the German occupation of Poland in the Second World War. The film is a co-productionbetween Polish, French, German, and British film companies. The film won the Academy Awards, highlighting Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director.
The assignment required gathering relevant literature on the Pianist which consisted of an initial library visit, journal articles (e.g. library website), and internet search (e.g. google books, google scholar).
SZPILMAN, W. 1999. The Pianist: Theextraordinary story of one man’s survival in Warsaw, 1935-45. Picador Publishers
The film ´The Pianist´ is based on Wladyslaw Szpilman’s memoirs of the German occupation of Poland during the Second War World entitled ‘The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw’. Szpilman (Poland, 1911 - 2000) was a famous compositor and pianist in Poland. Initially, in 1945, there were only asmall number of books published, and many copies where then either destroyed circulation suppressed by the soviet regime in the aftermath of the war. In 1999 Szpilmans son published the memoirs again.
SANDFORD, C. 2008.Polanski: A Biography. Palgrave Macmillan Publisher
Engaging with this book allows the reader to understand the motivations and purpose behind the directors making of the film.Within the book, Polanski explains how he had always had the desire to create a film depicting this traumatic episode in Polish history, but not though the perspective of his own experience.
F.X.FEENEY & P.DUNCAN. 2006. Roman Polanski. Editorial Taschen.
This book provides an interesting explanation and insight into the provocative compilation of comparatives between Polanski´s real lifeexperiences and childhood memories during that period, and the scenes he recreates in the film.
STEIN, A. 2004. Music and trauma in Polanski’s ‘The pianist’. International Journal of Psychoanalisis, (85):755–65
In recent decades there has been a flourishing of Holocaust film literature (e.g. Schindler’s list, 1999; The grey zone, (2001); and Life is beautiful, (1999)), from a range of vantageperspectives, illustrating the brutality, inhumanity and even banality of the Holocaust experience from inside it. However, this paper explains how the film provides the viewer with an objective viewpoint which is focused on historical facts. The paper goes on to explain the intra-psychic functions of the music in the context of massive traumatization, and describes how Chopin’s music becomessymbolic of Polanski’s interpretation and reconstruction of the traumatic experience. In the final scene, music is used to represent the salvation.
BRITTON, A. 1992. Talking Films. Fourth Estate Classic House
According to Britton, documentaries are analytical, reciting insights conceived not of observed truths, but as a social and historical reality which only carries meaning within the specificconfines of the forces and actions that created it. Although the pianist contains stagings and re-enactments, its creative treatment of actuality lends itself to the documentary form, in the sense that merely stating that the holocaust happened is inadequate for understanding the context in which it unfolded.
NELMES, J. 1996. An Introduction to Film Studies. UK: Routledge
In relation to the aboveissue, this book offers a compelling analysis of the development of the documentary film. In it, three key areas are identified, and knowledge of these can serve to enhance the viewers understanding of The Pianist. These are: technological factors (e.g. lights, sound, equipment); sociological dimensions (e.g. history, context, culture); and aesthetic concerns (e.g. visual and verbal language...