24 October, 2020

The Jury Decides

The Cannes film festival ignores brilliant performances in Mike Leigh's 'All or Nothing' and crowns Roman Polanski's 'The Pianist'

The Jury Decides
When Roman Polanski's The Pianist, a true story of a Jew evading the Nazi death camps, was announced winner of the Palme d'Or, the top award at the 55th edition of the Cannes film festival last fortnight, there were audible boos among the cheers in the audience. Differences of opinion there are bound to be at this level of art. But at least one case of injustice was manifest. This was the total rejection of Mike Leigh's All or Nothing, a tale of a drifting London cab driver, favoured to win by critics and newspaper polls alike, to say nothing of two great individual acting performances in it.

Be that as it may, The Pianist is Polanski's much-awaited holocaust film and an offering from the Polish auteur after a longish break. He spent a lot of his childhood in war-torn Warsaw and knew at close quarters what went on in the city's infamous ghetto and the extermination camps of Treblinka and Auschwitz. The film is based on the times and troubles of Wladislaw Szpilman, a brilliant Jewish pianist, his escape from a transport going to Treblinka and his rescue...


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