Roman Polanski, the Jewish Director of
, had a personal stake in this film. It is partly his own story of survival during the Holocaust as a child, while losing most of his family. It is also a story of individual survivors like the pianist, and other Jews who relied on their profession to be useful for the Nazis, and survive.
The film is shot in stone-cobbled Europe. The scenery is the cold European winter, with its dreary blue tint and depressing scenery.
, looking gaunt and malnourished, tries to survive by playing the piano and hiding his identity. The film,
portrays a similar attempt for survival, where a Jew tries to pass as German. A daring survival technique in war ravaged Europe. In addition, Polanski shows the deportation trains, taking the Jews to the gas chambers. It is a heart-wrenching scene to see families torn apart from each other, still trying to maintain a semblance of a nuclear family by dividing a small cookie.
The pianist's family tries to preserve their family unit by keeping normalcy, hoping these horrors are only temporary. This hope soon disappears, when the deportation train appeared and the family is broken up again. The pianist is left on his own again, trying to conceal his identity as a Jew, and get a job as a pianist. Similarly, in the movie
a Jew uses
someone else's identity as a mean to survive.