I saw Roman Polanski’s 2002 film The Pianist today. The story about a Jewish piano player and his time in the Warsaw Ghetto. I have never seen a bad film by Polanski, in my view he is one of the greatest post-war cineasts and this film is no exception. While I recently said that there can be no fictional narrative of Auschwitz (thinking of the faux realism of Schindler’s List black and white footage) this film sort of changed my mind. I thought that it was very realistic in its portrayal of the atrocities committed by the Germans and the gradual build-up of the dehuminazation of the Jews. The film is also a testament to the value of art and music, a bit contrary to Adorno’s famous statement that “there can be no art after Auschwitz.”
Searching for polanski+pianist+schindler+black and white+spielberg+verisimilitude brings up two good reviews, the first by Clive James and one by kamera.co.uk.
Trivia: I cried when the wheel-chaired bound man was thrown of the balcony and the men were shot and driven over by the Germans. I laughed when one of the brothers told the story of the surgeon who was brought to the ghetto to operate on someone, and was subsequently shot along with the anaesthetized patient.