This movie is based on the autobiography “The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945,” Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody), a Polish Jewish that plays the piano at a radio station, sees his hometown Warsaw slowly change as World War II begins. Szpilman is forced into the Warsaw ghetto, but is later separated from his family during Operation Reinhard. From this time until the concentration camp prisoners are released, Szpilman hides in various locations among the ruins of Warsaw and desperately searches for food.
So, director Roman Polanski has done a fantastic job with this movie. In a way this is a personal movie for him as well, since he was also a victim of the holocaust. His family moved to the Polish city of Kraków in early 1937, and were living there when World War II began with the invasion of Poland. Kraków was soon occupied by the Germans and their laws made the Polanski family the targets of deportation, forcing them into the Krakow Ghetto, along with thousands of the city’s Jews. At the age of six, he attended primary school for only a few weeks, until all the Jewish children were abruptly expelled. That was soon followed by the requirement that all Jewish children over the age of twelve wear white armbands with a blue Star of David imprinted for visual identification. Polanski then witnessed both the ghettoization of Kraków’s Jews into a small area of the city, and deportation of all the ghetto’s Jews to German death camps. He watched as his father was taken away. And that’s pretty much the story of this movie as well.
This movie has won three Oscars in 2003 (best actor in a lead role, best director, best writing/screenplay) and got nominated for four more (best picture, best cinematography, best costume design, best film editing). Let’s talk about how Adrien Brody got that Oscar win, all the preparation he put in into this movie or otherwise called method acting. He spent six weeks on an intense diet to get a very low 59 kilograms before filming began. For almost a year he isolated himself from society. He moved to Europe, sold his car and disconnected his cell phone. All that insanely hard work has paid off for him and he said it took him ”only” half a year to get back to his normal self again.