The Pianist: Film Analysis

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The Holocaust, 1933-1945, was one of the most devastating genocides of the 20th century. The word “Holocaust”, originating from the Greek words “holos” meaning whole and “kaustos” meaning burned. This term was historically used to describe sacrificial offerings burned on an altar, but since 1945 the word has taken on a different meaning. It now resonates worldwide as the name of the mass murder of c. 6 million European Jews, targeted by the Nazi party as they diseased Europe with the state of anti-Semitism through lies and fear. It will forever signify the threat of racism, totalitarianism, prejudice and bigotry. Reflecting on the causes and consequences of the Holocaust and nations responses to Holocaust, allows us to understand how this sadistic…show more content…
As we continue to nurture our understanding of the Holocaust, we begin to recognise why we can never allow an atrocity like this to occur again. The Pianist (2002), directed by Roman Polanski, is based on a WWII memoir by Polish-Jewish, Holocaust survivor, Wladyslaw Szpilman. The film, although dramatised, is based on Szpilman’s experiences hiding out from the Nazi’s as he escaped from being shipped of to a concentration camp. Although quite confronting, it sheds light on the often underappreciated individuals who risked their own lives helping Jewish people survive the war by welcoming them into their homes or giving them a safe place to stay, under the radar. Schindler’s List (1993), directed by Stephen Spielberg, is based on the novel Shindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally. It explores the life of Oskar Schindler during the Holocaust, a Sudeten German businessman who supported the Nazi party, but rescued over a thousand Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by giving them jobs in his factories. The stereotypical ideals we associate with members of the Nazi party are challenged by the actions of Schindler and offer a contrasting perspective on the Holocaust when compared to The Pianist. Although,…show more content…
Due to it’s impact on humanity, it is remembered around the world through memorials, international days of commemoration and presentations. For Germany, the actions of the Holocaust are very personal. Coming to terms with the country’s violent past was suppressed as they struggled to cope with their actions throughout WWII. Until 1990, Germany was separated into East and West Germany and both states could not accept their nations past. After Germany’s reunification, the efforts of individuals to remember the Holocaust has sky-rocketed as most of Berlin’s memorials have been established in the past 25 years. One of these memorials being The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a commissioned memorial by the German parliament in 1999, opened in 2005. A walk through installation, comprised of 2,711 concrete block, varying in height. Due to it being anonymous, it has been a subject of criticism as many believe it does not address the suffering of each victim. Peter Eisenman, the architect, defended the memorial by stating that, “In this monument there is no goal, no end…the duration of an individual’s experience of it grants not further understanding, since understanding is impossible.” Although underneath it all, lies a lesser known Information Centre, attempting to offer a more personal experience. Inside, the Room of Names seeks
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