Ktismatics

27 March 2008

The Pianist by Polanski, 2002

Filed under: Movies — ktismatics @ 7:45 am

I got the sense that, for Szpilman, the war constituted a long and arduous personal distraction — that he just wanted the war to end so he could go back to playing Chopin.

pianist wreck

pianist nazi

pianist concert

By portraying the pianist as a gentle, sensitive, and almost fatally passive individual, is Polanski indicting the Jews — and perhaps also the Poles — for not resisting? Or perhaps he’s endorsing Szpilman’s position: consider yourself lucky to survive the irresistible onslaught of violent and impersonal hatred, and make art.

About these ads

7 Comments »

  1. By portraying the pianist as a gentle, sensitive, and almost fatally passive individual, is Polanski indicting the Jews — and perhaps also the Poles — for not resisting? Or perhaps he’s endorsing Szpilman’s position: consider yourself lucky to survive the irresistible onslaught of violent and impersonal hatred, and make art.

    The appeal of most other Polanski films is that he seems to be regurgitating his Second World War trauma, one that seems to have left him with a deep sense of life’s precariousness and the Darwinian nature of society. For me he did this best in FRANTIC (with Harrison Ford). But between these two there is also a sense of chaos, of destiny striking illogically and sparing noone. I think the point of THE PIANIST was to show how in the end even this sense of beauty that saved the Pianist’s life thanks to the Nazi officer’s sense of aesthetics…doesn’t matter in the end.

    Dad by the way the new Indiana Jones is almost out, and Harrison still looks good at the age of over-sixty. Karen Allen seems to have gotten more beautiful with age, while Spielberg increasingly looks like the hero of Ratatouille.

    Comment by parodycenter — 27 March 2008 @ 5:55 pm

  2. “But between these two there is also a sense of chaos, of destiny striking illogically and sparing noone.”

    Yes I think that’s right. I think about Chinatown, where Geddes attempts to unravel the mystery and to save the girl, only to find himself drawn deeper and deeper into the incomprehensible and the overdetermined. He’s a profoundly pessimistic guy, this Polanski, yet he doesn’t dwell in the affect of sorrow and frustration since these reactions too are useless and maladaptive. Szpilman is able to rely on the kindness of strangers, and he does retain an instinct of self-preservation throughout. His moments of despair are brief; he seems to concern himself very little about the well-being of anyone other than himself. In Polanski’s world neither a benign Spinozan-Deleuzian immanence nor ethical humanism nor a sense of communal solidarity is effective in resisting the power exerted by the dominant order.

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 6:34 am

  3. In Polanski’s world neither a benign Spinozan-Deleuzian immanence nor ethical humanism nor a sense of communal solidarity is effective in resisting the power exerted by the dominant order.

    Yes which brings me back to the thought I expressed elsewhere that Polanski thinks a lot like HP Lovecraft. I get a similar sense of being almost erotically drawn to the horror, of experiencing simultaneous fear and revolusion and attraction. You look into the Void and you’re both afraid and wanting to jump. That said I think THE PIANIST is among the least successful attempts to capture this line given its off-putting Jewishness.

    Comment by parodycenter — 28 March 2008 @ 11:36 am

  4. “I get a similar sense of being almost erotically drawn to the horror, of experiencing simultaneous fear and revolusion and attraction. You look into the Void and you’re both afraid and wanting to jump.”

    This was the case in Don’t Look Now, a creepy movie from the 70s — screen shots forthcoming. It’s also related to Hegel’s internal split of the self, both afraid of Death the Ultimate Master and drawn to him, the void as source of plenitude.

    “given its off-putting Jewishness.”

    Well Polanski is Jewish, and his parents were sent to extermination camps, so it’s understandable. Probably his Jewishness helped shape the contours of the void that draws him into itself.

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 12:38 pm

  5. WHat I meant by offputting Jewishness is the repulsiveness of selling the Holocaust at a time when America is the new Nazi Germany; clearly Polanski wanted to win an Oscar smugly, perhaps guilt feelings for raping all those underage girls starting with Nastassja Kinski and ending with Emanuelle Seigner. It was a bit like Verhoeven setting the BLACK BOOK in the WW II setting instead of Srebrenica.

    Comment by parodycenter — 28 March 2008 @ 6:37 pm

  6. I hadn’t realized he won best director for this movie. It would have been fun to see him show up at the ceremony to accept his statuette then have him escorted off the stage by a couple of hot policewomen.

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 6:51 pm

  7. You’re working hard at putting off yourself, PC.

    Comment by Odile — 3 April 2008 @ 2:30 am


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The WordPress Classic Theme. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 95 other followers

%d bloggers like this: