The Pianist Essay

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Question: "The best films show ordinary people in extraordinary situations." - To what extend do you agree with this view? "The Pianist", is a film directed by Roman Polanski and is based around a memoir written about the German invasion of Poland. The author of the memoir, Wladyslaw Szpilman, was a skilful pianist who miraculously survived the invasion. Polanski has conveyed throughout the film, that Szpilmans love of music and his will to survive helped him in his survival through the horrific ordeal. Polanskis focus relates to the opinion of A. Scott of the New York Times, who draws attention to what he considers to be Polanskis "trademark". It is "what might be called humane sadism. He has always been fascinated by what happens to weak, ordinary people... peeling back their vanity to make them show the face of humanity under duress." In contrast to this, however, Szpilman is not portrayed to be "weak" or "ordinary", but more extraordinary. During the brink of death, Szpilmans extraordinary passion for music kept him alive. The chronologically structured film paces through the key scenes which set the horrific and extraordinary situation. The masterfully crafted key scenes captivate the audience and leave them inspired by Szpilmans reactions to his situation. A particular scene which sets the harsh realities of the situation was the scene where the old man gets thrown off the balcony by the Nazi officers. This happened because he could not stand up when the officers entered the room. This was watched by Szpilmans family and it was the first significant event which showed the family (and the viewer) the inhumanity of the Nazis and their potential. This is out of expectation, setting the situation as extraordinary. A scene which coincides with this, is the scene when the little boy is stuck under the ghetto wall, being pulled at by a Nazi until he dies.

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