Pianist

Pianist

4.8 36
Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay

     
 

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Roman Polanski's multiple-Oscar-winning drama The Pianist is presented on this disc in a standard full-frame transfer that fails to preserve the original theatrical aspect of the film. English soundtracks are rendered in DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1, a French soundtrack has also been recorded in Dolby Digital 5.1, and a Spanish soundtrack is available in DolbySee more details below

Overview

Roman Polanski's multiple-Oscar-winning drama The Pianist is presented on this disc in a standard full-frame transfer that fails to preserve the original theatrical aspect of the film. English soundtracks are rendered in DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1, a French soundtrack has also been recorded in Dolby Digital 5.1, and a Spanish soundtrack is available in Dolby Digital Surround. Supplemental materials include interviews with the cast and crew, a documentary about Polanski's experience during the Holocaust, and footage of the real Wladyslaw Szpilman. This is a fine disc for what it is, but the same extras are available on a different disc that also offers a widescreen transfer of the film. That version is preferable to this one.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
After a string of mediocre movies that hardly hinted at Roman Polanski's early glory, The Pianist represents a dazzling comeback -- the director's best work since Chinatown. Call it the anti-Spielberg Holocaust movie. Like Schindler’s List, The Pianist is based on a true story -- in this case, the autobiography of classical pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody), a Polish Jew who escaped the Nazis and spent World War II hiding out in Warsaw. But where Spielberg’s film is operatic and ultimately sentimental, Polanski’s is austere, tightly focused, almost clinical in the way it details Szpilman’s quest for survival. An upper-class dandy whose interests in life are limited to music and women, Szpilman is miraculously spared when his entire family, along with the rest of the Warsaw Ghetto, is carted off to the death camps. Brody, in an Oscar-winning performance, is magnificent as a man who is single-minded in his obsession with his music and tenacious in his will to live but hardly heroic: Szpilman’s initial salvation is a stroke of sheer luck. Later, in a stunning and lyrical scene that the entire film builds toward, we see that ultimately his talent as a pianist is the only thing that saves him. If many of the early images from The Pianist are familiar from other Holocaust films, once Szpilman is alone, holed up in a series of empty apartments, peering helplessly through the windows at the war’s devastation, Polanski brings a fresh perspective. The shots of an emaciated, barely alive Szpilman, wandering like a ghost through the rubble of the bombed-out ghetto, are unforgettable. A Polish Holocaust survivor himself, the director films Szpilman’s story with a clarity and authority that clearly derive from his own experience. Both Polanski -- who fled the U.S. decades ago after statutory rape charges -- and newcomer Brody scored upsets at the 2003 Academy Awards, winning the Best Director and Best Actor awards, respectively. Their surprise triumphs are testaments to the power of this remarkable film.
All Movie Guide - Adam Bregman
This powerful film by Roman Polanski tackles a subject matter and time that has been covered exhaustively in feature films, TV movies and documentaries, but The Pianist is another exceptional story that needed to be told. There have been plenty of dramas regarding the Warsaw Ghetto and the Jewish resistance, but less about the nearly complete destruction of Warsaw by the Nazis near the end of the war just as the Russians were closing in. The Pianist is mostly from the perspective of Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody), who escapes the concentration camps by luck and is briefly involved in smuggling guns into the Warsaw Ghetto. He escapes the Ghetto with the help of the Polish resistance and spends the rest of the film struggling to survive, while watching the unfolding events in Warsaw as the city is torn to pieces by the Nazis. It is a harrowing and moving story and Szpilman is a completely sympathetic character who doesn't seem at first cut out to survive under such conditions. There are both good and bad Jews, Poles and Nazis in the story, though most of the Nazi characters with the exception of Captain Hosenfeld (Thomas Kretschmann) are monstrous. Aside from the relentless horrors that Szpilman witnesses, there are moments of great beauty in the film especially in the scenes where he plays piano. The cinematography by Pawel Edelman is fantastic. Beyond being a great film, The Pianist is a testament to the incredible struggle of the Polish people during World War II.
All Movie Guide
This powerful film by Roman Polanski tackles a subject matter and time that has been covered exhaustively in feature films, TV movies and documentaries, but The Pianist is another exceptional story that needed to be told. There have been plenty of dramas regarding the Warsaw Ghetto and the Jewish resistance, but less about the nearly complete destruction of Warsaw by the Nazis near the end of the war just as the Russians were closing in. The Pianist is mostly from the perspective of Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody), who escapes the concentration camps by luck and is briefly involved in smuggling guns into the Warsaw Ghetto. He escapes the Ghetto with the help of the Polish resistance and spends the rest of the film struggling to survive, while watching the unfolding events in Warsaw as the city is torn to pieces by the Nazis. It is a harrowing and moving story and Szpilman is a completely sympathetic character who doesn't seem at first cut out to survive under such conditions. There are both good and bad Jews, Poles and Nazis in the story, though most of the Nazi characters with the exception of Captain Hosenfeld (Thomas Kretschmann) are monstrous. Aside from the relentless horrors that Szpilman witnesses, there are moments of great beauty in the film especially in the scenes where he plays piano. The cinematography by Pawel Edelman is fantastic. Beyond being a great film, The Pianist is a testament to the incredible struggle of the Polish people during World War II. Adam Bregman
Entertainment Weekly
A movie of riveting power and sadness. Lisa Schwarzbaum
New York Times - A.O. Scott
One of the very few nondocumentary movies about Jewish life and death under the Nazis that can be called definitive.
Washington Post
A near-masterpiece. Desson Howe
New York Observer
A great film of integrity and unforgettable power that leaves you breathless with gratitude. Rex Reed

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/27/2003
UPC:
0025192363122
Original Release:
2002
Rating:
R
Source:
Focus Features
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
2:30:00

Special Features

"Story of Survival": a featurette with interviews with Roman Polanski, writer Ronald Harwood, the producers, cast, crew and Wladyslaw Szpilman.

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Adrien Brody Wladyslaw Szpilman
Thomas Kretschmann Captain Wilm Hosenfeld
Frank Finlay The father
Maureen Lipman The mother
Emilia Fox Dorota
Ed Stoppard Henryk
Julia Rayner Regina
Jessica Kate Meyer Halina
Ruth Platt Janina
Michal Zebrowski Jurek
Katarzyna Figura Neighbor

Technical Credits
Roman Polanski Director,Producer
Robert Benmussa Producer
Jean-Marie Blondel Sound/Sound Designer
Timothy Burrill Executive Producer
Hervé de Luze Editor
Pawel Edelman Cinematographer
Celestia Fox Casting
Gene Gutowski Co-producer
Ronald Harwood Screenwriter
Wojciech Kilar Score Composer
Christian Kunstler Special Effects Supervisor
Heta Mantscheff Casting
Henning Molfenter Executive Producer
Ralph Remstedt Asst. Director
Lew Rywin Executive Producer
Alain Sarde Producer
Rainer Schaper Associate Producer
Anna Sheppard Costumes/Costume Designer
Allan Starski Production Designer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Warsaw, 1939 [8:14]
2. No Jews Allowed [6:21]
3. Segregated [6:03]
4. A Visit From Itzak [8:05]
5. The SS [8:06]
6. To the Labor Camps [12:26]
7. Itzak Again [12:53]
8. Potatoes and Bread [9:29]
9. In Hiding [1:47]
10. On the Run [10:12]
11. In the Lion's Den [9:52]
12. No Food [5:11]
13. The Uprising [4:31]
14. Mass Destruction [11:30]
15. The Pianist [6:08]
16. A Benefactor [9:41]
17. A New Life [7:11]
18. End Titles [4:51]

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