Holiday Movie Preview: The Pianist

STARRING: Adrien Brody, Frank Finlay, Emilia Fox, Maureen Lipman, Thomas Kretschmann, Julia Rayner DIRECTED BY: Roman Polanski

Wladyslaw Szpilman is playing a recital for Polish radio on Aug. 1, 1939. He continues as the first bombs of the invading Nazis rock the studio. He quits only when the station is knocked off air.

This behavior, it turns out, is typical of Szpilman, on whose memoirs Roman Polanski, a survivor of Poland's wartime ghetto, has based his very good movie. Szpilman, portrayed with stoic grace by Adrien Brody, clings to every last shred of normality, despite confronting one of the great abnormalities in human history--the monstrous ghetto in which Warsaw's Jews were brutally forced to live.

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