The Pianist

01 Oct 2019
Based on the biographical novel by Władsyław Szpilman, the Oscar-winning film charts Szpilman’s battle for survival in the Warsaw ghetto. Released in the years following the war the book was originally banned by the communist regime, and only republished in 1998.

The Film

Filming of The Pianist began on February 19, 2001 and primarily took place in the Babelsberg Studios in Berlin and the streets of Warsaw (ul. Nowy Świat, Krakowskie Przedmieście, ul. Kozia and the district of Praga, specifically ul. Mała and ul. Stalowa were all used for shooting). Starring Adrien Brody (Summer of Sam, Bread and Roses) the audition for the lead role was originally advertised in the Guardian newspaper and attracted over 1,400 applicants, including one from a black woman and one from a Chinese woman. Director Roman Polański, rather astutely, chose Brody ahead of the rest. Losing over 14kg for the role, Brody puts in an inspired and powerful performance, cementing his status as a rising star. But the film has not been without its share of scandal. Polański was warned by US federal officials that he would be arrested if he made an appearance at the Oscars - a direct result of an outstanding statutory rape charge. The film's producer, Lew Rywin, has also hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. Charged with corruption, Rywin (Schindler’s List, Europa Europa) was caught on tape offering to act as a middleman between the Polish Prime Minister and media group Agora in a cash-for-legislation row.


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