The Pianist is a 2002 biographical war drama film produced and directed by Roman Polanski, with a script by Ronald Harwood, starring Adrien Brody. It is based on the autobiographical book The Pianist, a Holocaust memoir by the Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman, a Holocaust survivor; the film was a co-production of France, the United Kingdom and Poland. The Pianist met with significant critical praise, received multiple awards and nominations, it was awarded the Palme d'Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. At the 75th Academy Awards, The Pianist won Oscars for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, was nominated for four other awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture, it won the BAFTA Award for Best Film and BAFTA Award for Best Direction in 2003, seven French Césars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Brody. It was included in BBC's 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century in 2016. In September 1939, Władysław Szpilman, a Polish-Jewish pianist, is playing live on the radio in Warsaw when the station is bombed during Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland.
Hoping for a quick victory, Szpilman rejoices with his family at home when learning that Britain and France have declared war on Germany. But the promised aid does not come. Fighting lasts for just over a month, with both the German and Soviet armies invading Poland at the same time on different fronts. Warsaw becomes part of the Nazi-controlled General Government. Jews are soon prevented from working or owning businesses, are made to wear blue Star of David armbands. By November 1940, Szpilman and his family are forced from their home into the overcrowded Warsaw Ghetto, where conditions only get worse. People starve, the guards are brutal, starving children are abandoned in the streets. On one occasion, the Szpilmans witness the SS kill an entire family in an apartment across the street during a round-up. On 16 August 1942, Szpilman and his family are transported to Treblinka extermination camp as part of Operation Reinhard, but a friend in the Jewish Ghetto Police recognizes Władysław at the Umschlagplatz, separates him from his family.
He becomes a slave labourer, learns of a coming Jewish revolt. He helps the resistance by smuggling weapons into the ghetto, on one occasion narrowly avoiding a suspicious guard. Szpilman manages to escape, goes into hiding with help from a non-Jewish friend, Andrzej Bogucki, his wife, Janina. In April 1943, Szpilman watches from his window as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which he aided and ultimately fails. After a neighbor discovers Szpilman in the flat, he is forced to flee to a second hiding place; the new room has a piano in it, but he is compelled to keep quiet, while beginning to suffer from jaundice. In August 1944, during the Warsaw Uprising, the Armia Krajowa attacks a German building across the street from Szpilman's hideout. Tank shells hit the apartment. Over the course of the following months, Warsaw is destroyed. Szpilman is left alone to search for shelter and supplies among the ruins, he makes his way to a house where he finds a can of pickled cucumbers. While trying to open it, he is noticed by Wehrmacht officer Wilm Hosenfeld, who learns that Szpilman is a pianist.
He asks Szpilman to play on a grand piano in the house. The decrepit Szpilman manages to play Chopin's "Ballade in G minor". Hosenfeld lets Szpilman hide in the attic of the empty house. From here, he is supplied with food by the German officer. In January 1945, the Germans are retreating from the Red Army. Hosenfeld meets Szpilman for the last time, promising he will listen to him on Polish Radio after the war, he gives Szpilman his greatcoat to keep warm, leaves. In Spring 1945, former inmates of a Nazi concentration camp pass by a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp holding captured German soldiers and verbally abuse them. Hosenfeld, being one of the prisoners, overhears a released inmate lamenting over his former career as a violinist, he asks him whether he knows Szpilman, which he confirms, Hosenfeld wishes him to beg Szpilman, to return him favour and help release him. The violinist and Szpilman reach the prisoners camp, but find it abandoned. After the war, Szpilman is back at the Polish Radio, where he performs Chopin's "Grand Polonaise brillante" to a large prestigious audience.
An epilogue states that Szpilman died in 2000 at the age of 88, whereas Hosenfeld died in 1952, still in Soviet captivity. The story had deep connections with director Roman Polanski because he escaped from the Kraków Ghetto as a child after the death of his mother, he ended up living in a Polish farmer's barn until the war's end. His father died in the camps, but they reunited after the end of World War II. Joseph Fiennes was Polanski's first choice for the lead role, but he turned it down due to a previous commitment to a theatrical role. Over 1,400 actors auditioned for the role of Szpilman at a casting call in London. Unsatisfied with all who tried, Polanski sought to cast Adrien Brody, whom he saw as ideal for the role during their first meeting in Paris. Principal photography on The Pianist began on 9 February 2001 in Babelsberg Studio in Potsdam, Germany; the Warsaw Ghetto and the surrounding city were recreated on the backlot of Babelsberg Studio as they would have looked during the war.
Old Soviet Army barracks were used to create the ruined city, as they were going to be destroyed anyway. The first scenes of the film were shot at the old army barracks. Soon after, the film crew moved to a villa in Potsdam, which served as the house where Szpilman meets Hosenfeld. On 2 March 2001, filming moved to an abandoned Soviet military hospital in Beelitz, Germany. The
The Bar National Mock Trial Competition aims to give young people an insight into the workings of the legal system. Now in its 27th year, it involves over 2,000 students, 200 barristers/advocates and 90 judges from across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In 2012/2013 the final was held in the Royal Courts of Justice in London; the finalists were Penyrheol Comprehensive School of Swansea and Plymouth High School for Girls of Plymouth. Plymouth High School emerged as the National Champions after a close competition; the 2010/2011 final was held at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast on 12 March 2011. In 2009/10 the final was held at Edinburgh Crown Court; the National Champions were the Whitley Bay High School team which included including barristers Katy Ames and Joseph Taylder, witnesses Caroline Armstrong, Jennifer Combe and Laura Robson, clerk of the court Robert Hollis. In 2008/09 the final was held in the Old Bailey of London – two points separated the winner and runner up; the National Champion was Ponteland High School and runner up, The Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School In 2007/2008 the final was held at Liverpool Crown Court on 1 March 2008.
In 2007/2008 the final was held at Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts, Liverpool on Saturday 1 March 2008. The sixteen Regional Heat winners from across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland competed in three preliminary rounds in order to determine the top two finalist teams that would progress onto the Grand Final. Queen Elizabeth's Community College and Whitley Bay High School were announced as the two finalists. In the Grand Final the teams presented the case of Jordan Potter before a panel of five judges and senior counsel from across the UK: HHJ Clifton, HHJ Harris QC, Brian Kennedy QC, Herbert Kerrigan QC and HHJ Roddy. Whitley Bay High School were declared national champions. HHJ Clifton praised both teams on the high standard of their performances, noting the dramatic flair of the witnesses and the quality of all four barristers; the new national champions received their trophy and prizes from the judges. A total of 158 schools had taken part in the Competition since heats began in November the previous year.
Lumen Christi College was the winner of the 2006/2007 competition. The Lumen Christi student who played the role of a barrister said: "The opportunity to work with real barristers and prepare a case has been a great experience, it gave us a real insight into how the justice system works" Her teacher added: "I was impressed by how a number of shy students flourished and came out of their shells by taking part in the competition and the level of articulation and analytical skills was heartening to see. The actual day in court showed me how students rose to the challenge of such a pressurised setting, their confidence shone through. The school was enlivened by our victory and the level of support has been fantastic." CitizenShip Foundation: Bar Mock Trial Competition
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