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The Pianist: When the Mercy Comes Where Angels Fear to Trod Essay


However talented a person can be, it is important for a mere mortal to embrace the whole epoch. Even though the period under the discussion might have lasted for several years, one cannot shed the light on every single event that triggered the preset state of affairs. The question is whether a man observes the epoch that has passed from the point of view of a single man who has witnessed this epoch. And it is even more doubtful because of the fact that the man spoken about is a character of a film.

A well-known, scandalous and talented film director Robert Polanski has managed to create a string of pearls that can be considered as cinematographic perfection, with his unusual approach and the means that he makes the audience face the reality the way it is.

Among them, there is the film called The Pianist, a winner of the Palme d’Or on the Cannes Festival and the movie that has raised a great stir among the audience, them regarding the film either as the masterpiece of all times which is worth all the works of Polanski taken altogether, while the others rejected the movie just as heatedly as the former admired it.

The reasons for such welcome were, probably, that the film director had looked too deep either in the history of the World War II, or into a man’s soul. Since the topics that touched upon the mistreatment of the Jews and anti-Semitism have always been an uneasy subject to discuss, it can be said that Polanski has cut the society to the quick. The atmosphere of hatred and suffering that the war was shot through made the film even more expressive, shocking and true.

Whatever the opponents say, it must be noticed that Polanski has managed to show the tragedy of the Jewish people during the World War II in full with help of the little tragedies that occurred during the sorrow that gripped the whole world. Because of the controversy of the subject, the author is trying to convey his ideas with help of the certain people, not aiming at gripping the whole lot of events that occurred during the World War II.

Since Polanski had chosen the subject of the fate of the Jews during the war, he meant to shift the plot from the common scenes to something more concrete and certain. Thus, the director decided to explore the clash of pure talent and cruel principles that governed on the battlefield, along with the Germans mistreating the Jews, trying to wipe them from the face of the Earth.

Polanski is trying to show that in spite of the cruelty that was reigning in the times of the World War, there was still some room in people’s hearts for sympathy and understanding. Understanding all the blasphemy of what he was going to depict in his film, Polanski makes the German, the Nazi who was supposed to have no heart and no mercy for the people who think unlike him, the one to save the Jewish – just think about this fact, which makes the whole situation twice as miraculous! – pianist.

It is a well-known fact that the Jews were taken as the prior enemies of the Nazi. They were killed in the cruelest way, and those that were left alive were herded into ghettoes where they lived what could not be called a life. With numerous prohibitions, fines and penalties that were imposed on those who dared to break the rules, it was worse than death.

Wladyslaw Szpilman: It’s an official decree, no Jews allowed in the parks.
Dorota: What, are you joking?
Wladyslaw Szpilman: No, I’m not. I would suggest we sit down on a bench, but that’s also an official decree, no Jews allowed on benches.
Dorota: This is absurd.
Wladyslaw Szpilman: So, we should just stand here and talk, I don’t think we’re not allowed to do that.

(The Pianist)

Such was the ideology of the Nazi and the rules which it dictated that the misery of being a Jew during the World War II was more than simply unbearable – it was an ordeal that made people submissive and filled with fear. Their hopes broken, they could not find any way out.

The only ray of hope is that there is still some mercy in the hearts of the people who have been trained to kill for all these years. As the lead character of the film, Wladyslaw Szpilman, encounters the German soldier who intents to kill him and is suddenly captured by the talent of the Polish pianist.

Some critics might say that the story sounds like a fairy-tale for adults, since it is well-known that Nazi were not subjected to a lot of sentiments about the culture and the talents of the oppressed nations. Yet Polanski is exercising the ideas of humanism as the ones that can appear within any kind of a person, either a Nazi or a Communist, or a Democrat.

The three pillars that the humanity is based on are the principles of mercy and sympathy, which are integral parts of every single man, despite his or her political or religious beliefs. The idea that the Nazi could have the feeling for the beauty was sudden and striking to the society; being under the impression of the terror that took place during the World War, people could not accept such understanding of the Germans of 1940ies.

Captain Wilm Hosenfeld: What is your name? So I can listen for you.
Wladyslaw Szpilman: My name is Szpilman.
Captain Wilm Hosenfeld: Spielmann? That is a good name, for a pianist.

(The Pianist)

The unbelievable dialogue opens the hearts of the public to the new understanding of what the people that were fighting in the war were like, and what it was like to be an aggressor and a victim.

The reasons for the soldiers to stay cold to the pleas of mercy of the oppressed people could be different, yet the violence that was underlying each step of the German soldiers is undeniable. However many explanations of why they did the things that terrified the people around, the fact that the Germans were not the people to beg forgiveness from was evident.

In contrast to his more cool-blooded – or, should I better say, blood-thirsty? – compatriots, Hosenfeld subdues to the charming music that the genius plays and understands that killing such a man would be equal to killing the very art. Thus, the German officer decides to make a very dangerous step, saving the man whose talent he admires.

This could seem impossible in the circumstances of the terror and the violence that was reigning around, but if one takes a closer look at the scene, it becomes quite possible. Polanski simply wanted to show that however far a man goes, he will always stay a man, with the peculiarities and weird features of his, and with the passions that cannot be wiped out by the war and even death.

Wladyslaw Szpilman: I don’t know how to thank you.
Captain Wilm Hosenfeld: Thank God, not me. He wants us to survive. Well, that’s what we have to believe.

(The Pianist)

Hosenfeld is intentionally trying to be rude to hide the sentimental feelings of his, so out-of-place when the war is going on. Still it can be noticed that the art of the pianist has awoken his soul, and he is getting used to the new feeling. The music has a magic effect on him, opening his heart to the humane feelings.

The most touching and brilliantly shot, The Pianist is on of those films that remind of the life values that must not be forgotten. Being humane when the world demands that a man should forget about mercy is what makes a human. Polanski has managed to show it artfully, and people must not forget about the lesson that they have been taught.

Works Cited

The Pianist. Dir. Robert Polanski. Perf. Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Maureen Lipman, Emilia Fox, Michal Zebrowski. Babelsberg, 2001. Film.

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IvyPanda. (2019, January 17). The Pianist: When the Mercy Comes Where Angels Fear to Trod. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-pianist-when-the-mercy-comes-where-angels-fear-to-trod/

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"The Pianist: When the Mercy Comes Where Angels Fear to Trod." IvyPanda, 17 Jan. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/the-pianist-when-the-mercy-comes-where-angels-fear-to-trod/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Pianist: When the Mercy Comes Where Angels Fear to Trod." January 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-pianist-when-the-mercy-comes-where-angels-fear-to-trod/.


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IvyPanda. "The Pianist: When the Mercy Comes Where Angels Fear to Trod." January 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-pianist-when-the-mercy-comes-where-angels-fear-to-trod/.

References

IvyPanda. 2019. "The Pianist: When the Mercy Comes Where Angels Fear to Trod." January 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-pianist-when-the-mercy-comes-where-angels-fear-to-trod/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Pianist: When the Mercy Comes Where Angels Fear to Trod'. 17 January.

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