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The Weekend, The Pianist

This was a good weekend, a sad weekend. Sad because of the space shuttle tragedy. Good because I spent time on Saturday night having fun with friends, ate a damn fine dim sum today, saw The Pianist, the amazing new movie from Roman Polanksi (note: site is in French), and enjoyed a 90 minute full-body massage on Saturday afternoon. The weather warmed up as well, making life easier to take for a change.

The Pianist is based on the true story of Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, who lived in Warsaw at the time of the German occupation in WWII. He escapes deportation to the death camps, lives for a time in the Warsaw ghetto, and then escapes, living in the ruins of the city until the war’s end. The movie features a career performance by New York actor Adrien Brody, in the title role. Attention to detail is meticulous, especially scenes of deserted neighbourhoods in Warsaw, devestated by bombs and artillery. It was in such a neighbourhood that Szpilman hid to survive.

This is a long movie, and for a while, I found myself edgy and impatient for things to pick up. The pace of the story seems to slows once Szpilman escapes from the ghetto and hides in Warsaw, first in deserted apartments where he is locked is for his own safety by members of the underground, and then when he is forced to leave and live in a deserted hospital, and then a mansion. But afterwards, I realized that these lengthy scenes were important, because it helped me feel the isolation and impatience that he must have felt, waiting for the moment when he might be a free man again. Highly recommended.

Aside: The voice-over for the trailer for the movie pronounce it The Pee-ANN-ist. In North America, we would say The PEE-ann-ist. Perhaps they wanted to avoid having it sound too much like penis?

I’d like to welcome an old friend to the world of blogging: Michael Hall, currently of Ft McMurray AB. Mike and I met as members of Winnipeg science fiction fandom in the mid-1970s. Toys and Cookies was a phrase we used many times in those days.

8 Responses to “The Weekend, The Pianist”

  1. jennifer Says:

    I am all gung ho to see the pianist even if roman polanski the felon directed it.

    you are up too late mister!

  2. jennifer Says:

    i forgot to make my 7 inch pianst joke. now i can’t remember it. 🙂

  3. sharon Says:

    i love dim sum!


  4. Heavy G Says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing The Pianist. I thought Adrian Brody was great in Summer of Sam. Looking forward to his performance in this one.

    All this talk about dim sum is making me hungry. Chinese food and a movie it is tonight!

  5. Mike Richards Says:

    I agree with Jennifer. You are up too late mister. Also, TMI about the full body whatever…Tooooo much information.

    My friends and I might check out “The Pianist” or as the Americans called it at the Golden Globes, “The Pee-ann-ist”. Hahaha. But it’s very low priority. Kind of reminds me how the U.S. began pronouncing the planet Uranus, “yer-in-is” in the 1980s. The reason? CBS Television didn’t ever want Dan Rather telling Americans on the evening news that “Scientists recently found a black hole in Uranus.” Hahahahaha.

    We have many other films to see such as “The Hours”, “Frida” (although it’s now gone from our city), “Far From Heaven” (which also may be gone too 🙁 ), Shanghai Knights (we hear this is hilarious and possibly Jackie Chan’s best offering yet), “25th Hour”, “The Recruit” (I know it’s getting so-so reviews, but we want to see it, plain and simple, “Two Weeks Notice” (it’s now at the cheap theatres and we only wish to see it for the Nora Jones performance which we were told is excellent), and “Bowling For Columbine” (also now at the cheap theatres).

    We were think also about “How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days” but the reviews are out today. It’s all bad news from the all of the major U.S. film critics. Here’s a snipit of what Kenneth Turan said today in the Los Angeles Times.

    ’10 Days’ only feels that long
    A too-long title is just the first problem for this too-long, misguided, so-called romantic comedy.

    “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” could more honestly be titled “How to Abandon Two Likable Actors and Mess Up a Perfectly Serviceable Romantic Comedy Concept by Overstaying Your Welcome Among Other Things.” That is rather on the long side, but then again, so is this film.

    The full review is found here.

    Think I’ll head out now to the “Silver Dragon” from som dim sun…


    p.s. My E-mail is still not working. Don’t know what the issue is. Am trying to reach my IT person for a fix.

  6. HK Says:

    I don’t know where you get off determining that all of North America pronounces the word PEE-nist. It’s simply not true. I’ve been around enough pianists, piano instructors and musicians of all kinds in North America that PEE-nist is the foreign pronounciation. And furthermore, even if all North Americans did pronounce it that way, it’s wrong! The instrument the trained pianist plays is a pee-AH-no, not a PEE-no. Case closed. Yes, I’m making a bloody point two years after the fact, and I’m going to do so everywhere I feel the need to. Thanks for the webspace.

  7. randy Says:

    Dear HK: Thanks for your note. You are correct: I should not assume all North Americans pronounce pianist as PEE-an-ist. However, the case is NOT closed, and probably never will be.

    Further investigation reveals that the Oxford English Dictionary lists the pronunciation as PEE-an-ist. Perhaps you need to take your “bloody point” up with the Brits responsible for the OED. The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary agrees with the OED’s interpretation.

    Then again, the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease, lists
    three pronunciations: “pē-an’ist, pyan’-, pē’u-nist”. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary suggests two pronunciations:”pE-‘a-nist, ‘pE-&-t”, one of which is the pronunciation you suggest.

    Not to further complicate the issue, but the Columbia Guide to Standard English, 1993, lists three acceptable pronunciations: “Pianist has three Standard pronunciations: PEE-uh-nist, pee-AN-ist, and PYAN-ist; the first is the most widely heard.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Ed, 2000, agrees with the first two choices of the aforementioned Columbia pronunciations.

    I don’t “get off” choosing that way to pronounce it, it’s the way I learned how to pronounce pianist. I appreciate your comment, but please, a little less nastiness next time; don’t take a post with which you disagree so personally, and perhaps consider using your real name instead of Hung Kok. I suspect you can do better than taking shots like you did.

  8. oufae Says:

    the pianist is a great film especialy with adrien brody the famous actor.i don t care about the pronouciation.bye

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