“I watched The Pianist yesterday, ready for my next review,” I told my Dad.
“Oh, another Harvey Keitel movie?” Mr Nunn replied.
As previously mentioned, I have face blindness, so genuinely can watch incredibly famous people in movies, and have been completely unaware of their presence. (Case in point, I was just Googling The Pianist to get the movie poster, and have literally just this second realised Emilia Fox was in it.) But I was fairly sure Harvey Keitel hadn’t been in The Pianist.
“Oh, erm, was he?” I asked.
“Yes, he was on the boat,” Mr Nunn replied confidently.
“The boat? I don’t remember the boat.”
“The boat that takes them to New Zealand.”
“Dad, are you talking about The Piano?”
Misunderstanding resolved, it turned out Mr Nunn had not seen The Pianist, so was unable to furnish me with his opinion.
I am (was?) something of a pianist myself, so I was looking forward to watching the harrowing tale of a Polish concert pianist, forced into some sort of piano-playing for the Nazis. Maybe he would be made to start an orchestra? Maybe he would be forced to accompany Wagner music for the rest of his existence. The opportunity for piano playing was immense.
NB This move should not have been called The Pianist. It is a very long movie, and I estimate that the so-called pianist plays the piano for a maximum 2% of the movie. It should definitely be retitled The Hider as that is basically what he mostly does.
As an aside – every pianist I have ever met is a lot more precious about his fingers than this guy seemed to be.
Additionally, he’s not even an especially good hider, as he keeps making too much noise and accidentally outs himself from most of his hiding places.
Aside from that, as you might expect, it’s a gruelling watch about the awful, awful things done to the Polish Jews by the Nazis, with many parts I had to watch through my fingers. (My fingers, which by the way, I am quite precious about.)
The protagonist is helped out by two blonde women, who looked too similar to me, and I confused them (side note: turns out at least one of them was Emilia Fox), but most people should be able to tell them apart.
My previous knowledge of the Nazis in Poland was sketchy, and this was an interesting watch, showing how the net closed slowly on the Jews, starting with the slow erosion of their rights – where they were allowed to sit, to gather, what they had to wear, how much money they could have – and escalating to the horrors of death camps.
The Pianist is based on a true story, and is definitely worth a watch.