"The Pianist" Is Released

Roman Polanski, filming in Poland for the first time in 40 years, has made one of the finest films yet about the catastrophe the Nazis visited on Poland and its Jewish population.

Adrien Brody, in a fluid, understated and thoroughly unsentimental performance, plays Wladislaw Szpilman, a popular concert pianist who survived, against odds that can only be described as absurd, the German occupation of Warsaw and the inferno of the city's Jewish ghetto. With relentless clarity, Mr. Polanski tracks the deterioration of his hero's situation and the day-in, day-out assault on his humanity. There are scenes of unwatchable brutality as well as of kindness and solidarity, but what is most remarkable is the sense of daily life in impossible conditions. The last part of the movie, in which Szpilman is first trapped in a safe house and then condemned to wander the bombed-out city, is a tour de force, at once harrowing and strangely comic. — A. O. Scott, The New York Times

The Pianist is a 2002 film directed by Roman Polanski, starring Adrien Brody. It is an adaptation of the autobiography of the same name by Jewish-Polish musician Władysław Szpilman. The film is a co-production between Polish, French, German, and British film companies.

In addition to winning the Palme d'Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, the film won the Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was also awarded seven French Césars including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Brody (who became the only American actor to win one).