Wladyslaw Szpilman

Usually, on a Friday evening, quite a few of us help to run youth clubs at churches in the area. Since it’s half-term, we were granted some respite and so we piled round my place to chill, chat and watch a DVD. After a brief perusal of my DVD collection, we decided to watch The Pianist. I must say this is a great film. Following the trials and tribulations of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Jewish pianist, during the Second World War in Warsaw, we are confronted with the horror of the holocaust, contrasted with the beauty of the music of Chopin. It opens with a routine day for Polish Radio in 1939, rudely interrupted by war.
The full extent of human depravity is allowed to surface in the events of the war, from the sheer lunacy and evil of the Nazi ideology and practice, to the failings of common people when faced with difficult choices. Yet, even when surrounded by difficult circumstances, there are also those who do what is right – and not necessarily where you think you’d find them. The final minutes of the film are seemingly like the opening minutes, with a routine day for Polish Radio, as if nothing unusual had happened between 1939 and 1945. In all of it, the characters are real, none of them are perfect, none of them do what is right in everything they do, and yet, by the grace of God, they all carry out acts of kindness in varying degrees.

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