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The Pianist

Roman Polański
Poland, Germany, France, UK 2002 / 148’
Carlos Saura's choice

The action in this war drama based on the memoirs of pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman gets under way in September 1939. The young musician is performing one of Chopin's nocturnes for Polish Radio when German bombs start falling on Warsaw, heralding the start of war and, for Szpilman and his Jewish family, the beginning an almost hopeless-as we know from history-struggle for survival. Shot in the bold style of Hollywood, Polanski's film is a story about hell on Earth and the will to survive even in inhuman times. The film also gives audiences a glimpse of Polish-German-Jewish relations during the occupation, as seen from the perspective of a Varsovian Robinson Crusoe. Shown in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival, the film won the Palme d'Or, as well as Oscars for best director, best screenplay, and best actor for Adrien Brody in the title role. In The Pianist, we can see Polanski's characteristic pessimistic view of the world, the themes of constant threats of danger and loneliness, as well as his particular style of perfect artistic craftsmanship.

Adam Kruk


Cannes IFF 2002 - Golden Palm; BAFTA 2003 – Best Film, Best Director, Oscars 2003 - Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay

Roman Polański

Roman Polański was born in 1933. As a student, he directed the film Two Men and a Wardrobe, for which he received international awards. In 1962, he directed the critically acclaimed Knife in the Water. In 1965 in England Repulsion was produced, followed three years later by Rosemary’s Baby. Produced in 1974, Chinatownconfirmed the artist’s position. Polański fled the United States and produced Tess in France. He is considered one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema.

Selected filmography

1958 Dwaj ludzie z szafą / Two Men and a Wardrobe (short)

1962 Nóż w wodzie / Knife in the Water

1965 Wstręt / Repulsion

1968 Dziecko Rosemary / Rosemary’s Baby

1974 Chinatown

1979 Tess

1988 Frantic

1992 Gorzkie gody / Bitter Moon

2013 Wenus w futrze / Venus in Fur

Cast & Crew

director Roman Polański
screenplay Ronald Harwood
cinematography Paweł Edelman
editing Hervé de Luze
music Wojciech Kilar
cast Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Maureen Lipman, Emilia Fox, Krzysztof Pieczyński, Cezary Kosiński
producer Roman Polański, Robert Benmussa, Alain Sarde, Gene Gutowski
production R. P. Productions, Heritage Films, Studios Babelsberg, Runteam Ltd.
sales Heritage
language English, German, Russian, Polish
colouration colour