Three-time Oscar nominee Roman Polanski and screenwriter Ron Harwood (The Dresser
) filter the autobiography of Polish classical keyboardist Wladyslaw Szpilman through Polanski’s own World War II childhood. This stunning portrayal of the Nazi occupation of Warsaw begins in 1939 in Warsaw. Szpilman is performing live on Polish radio when the station is bombed and he is literally blown from his studio stool into the harsh realties of war and genocide. No amount of aching desire can make the Nazi threat go away even as Britain and France enter the war, as Polanski pulls us into the pianist’s life, showing us the horrors that occur and immersing us in a stain of history we know Szpilman cannot change. Adrien Brody, who played the older Jewish brother in Barry Levinson’s Liberty Heights
, is excellent as the musician whose life is saved by luck, his love of music and the benevolence of strangers.