UNC-Chapel Hill ENGL 105 - ENGL 105 Paper Film Summary 2 page close reading (3 pages)

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ENGL 105 Paper Film Summary 2 page close reading



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ENGL 105 Paper Film Summary 2 page close reading

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3
School:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Course:
Engl 105 - ENG COMP & RHETORIC Lecture 3
ENG COMP & RHETORIC Lecture 3 Documents
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4 7 17 William Barrett The Pianist Spzilman and the German Officer I have chosen a scene towards the end of the film The Pianist where the main character Wladyslaw Szpilman personally encounters a German officer who then has him play the piano I believe this scene is about restoring a sense of humanity and hope back into the film In the context of the greater story it marks a turning point for both Spzilman s story and the tone of the film It does this by combining a variety of filming techniques and artistic methods Just as it seems Spzilman has caught a break with the pickles Polanski empowers the scene with an unbearable sense of dread and tension When Spzilman drops the pickles and the camera zooms in and focuses on its slow roll the viewer can immediately tell something is off This sense of uneasiness escalates into a feeling of complete despair as the camera slowly pans up to reveal the unmistakeable image of a German officer The slow and deliberate movement of the camera mimicking Spzilman s own view makes clear there will be no chance to escape and nowhere to hide After years of struggling for survival running and hiding Spzilman is finally caught The complete silence only adds to the already incredible tension The officer Hosenfeld is handsome poised and in complete control of the situation directly in contrast with Spzilman s lame disheveled utter helplessness His command is only highlighted by his elevated position on the stairs But as he begins to question Spzilman the audience can immediately tell Hosenfeld is different than every other German to have appeared in the film so far Throughout the entire film to this point the Jews including Spzilman were methodically dehumanized by the Nazi s to the point of being almost less than animals Conversely the Germans through their gross violation of other s humanity grew only more grotesque in their depiction ultimately becoming almost more monster than human themselves Yet Hosenfeld s uniquely personal attention to Spzilman as he questions him immediately sets apart While his questions are short and direct he gives 4 7 17 William Barrett Spzilman the courtesy to answer properly without immediately jumping to indignation like the German characters before him The long pauses in between the deliberate speaking by both Spzilman and Hosenfeld only adds to the intensity and drama of the scene After learning of Spzilman s previous occupation as a pianist Hosenfeld softly repeats Spzilman s words and lets out a long sigh oddly humanizing him and breaking the tension in such a way it s almost at though he is reminding the audience to breathe themselves He then slowly steps away towards another door and beckons for Spzilman to follow Spzilman who still has not moved to that point paralyzed by fear eventually shuffles to follow him The door slightly cracked open already is clearly emblematic of a turning point The door is a one way path towards resolution and it will lead to Spzilman s ultimate salvation or his demise They enter the room revealing a piano in the corner whereupon Hosenfeld orders him to play Spzilman whose identity was at its core about being a pianist is finally reunited with his beloved instrument He begins slowly but as he continues to play a transformation takes place His movements on the piano become more complex fast and dramatic Spzilman gradually stops stooping over as his fingers glide ever faster across the piano and he adopts the perfect posture of proud performer His outline is highlighted by the moonlight streaking through the window like a spotlight For the first time in seemingly forever he appears completely in control and completely humanized The music of the piano overpowers every other sound As Spzilman swells in his rediscovered human dignity driving every drop of passion from his years of struggle into every strike of the keys Hosenfeld watches awed from the corner of the room and drops his head in deep contemplation At the conclusion of the piece it becomes clear that although Spzilman doesn t know what will happen next he has been given hope and human dignity has been at least partially restored to him Ho 4 7 17 William Barrett senfeld s treatment of and reaction to Spzilman salvages Spzilman s humanity and reminds us that even soldier s on the wrong side of history are human themselves


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