Just got back from seeing The Pianist. It was, quite simply, the best and most powerful film I've seen in quite a while.

For those who don't know, perhaps it's best to preface anything more with a little bit of my family history. All of my dad's family is Jewish. My grandfather and his family left Austria in 1933 when he was three years old. I'm not exactly clear on why they left, but it was obviously a wise thing in retrospect. So literature, films, etc about the Holocaust have always had a very powerful meaning to me. Anyway, enough of that…

Following Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Jewish pianist known from his performances for Polish radio, the story starts with the initial occupation of Poland by the Nazis in 1939. It continues through the increasing restrictions, the creation of the Warsaw ghetto and goes all the way through the Russian liberation of Poland. The horrors of the occupation, the ghetto, and hiding.

As I said, very very good and highly recommended. But definitely not an uplifiting film.

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  1. I saw the film yesterday too, isn’t that odd? I’d recommend it as well, unless you are easily depressed for long periods of time by such things. Very moving film, however. I took my mom to see it. I have no idea why, but every time my mom comes to visit we end up watching sad movies. Last time it was “I am Sam”.

    One time when I was walking around in Pasadena this older fellow came up to me and asked me if I was European. I told him that, sadly, I was not. Well, we struck up this conversation. The interesting thing was that he was also a Polish pianist. He was on a tour in the States, and he even played a bit for me at the club that he was going to be playing at later. He told me that his brother and father had been a concentration camp, and we talked about that for a long time. It was not the same guy, of course, but still quite an interesting coincidence.

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