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Defiance And The Pianist Essay

2221 words - 9 pages

Defiance and The Pianist both are different ways of viewing the Holocaust. Instead of the focus being on how the Jews were discriminated upon, both movies show how some Jews did not allow themselves to be victimized by the Germans. Very few account recount the Jewish resistance that occurred, most chose to focus on their destruction and death. The fact that both are based on the true stories of survivors adds a sense of validity to the movies. Each personal testimony allows the viewer to see the varying ways Jews reacted to the German encroachment upon their lives. Both movies are prime examples of the Jewish resistance movement, as well as how historical accounts are portrayed on screen and how close they stay to the truth.
In Defiance, the deviations from the historical record are used to emphasis certain aspects of the movie. In the beginning sequence the audience can see how there is a mesh of video of Hitler imposed with footage that the director made to look older. If a person had never seen the original footage they would not see the subtle mixture of fact and fiction. But this practice raises the question should directors be able to add or subtract from the historical accuracy of a movie, especially one with a subject matter such as the Holocaust. In the case of movies that are based on the real life experiences of individuals the deviation makes the matter more accessible to a large group of people. There are many aspects of someones life are not easily readable when place on the screen. In order for them to be understood some liberty must be given to the director to make them understandable to someone who may not know the culture or the traditions behind the actions. In a scene of Defiance Zus, played by Liev Schreiber, as he is leaving his family home takes a carved item off the doorpost, something that in Hebrew culture is said to be a good luck charm and help give the presences of God with someone. While there is no direct dialogue that states what the object is for, the audience can see that there is a sense of importance to the object, something that is further enforced when he gives it to his brother when he embarks on his mission of revenge. Without the creative license to do so that scene would not exist and it would depreciate some of the emotional power of the movie.
The Pianist has very similar scenes, though with the movie being based off a written memoir there is more descriptive information available for the director, in this case Roman Polonski, to implement into his movie. In the case of Polanski his use of invention is even more acceptable in that what he adds is also fact with there being no made up aspects. With Polanski being a survivor of the Holocaust himself, many of those elements that were added were from his own life giving even his fiction the air of fact. In the scene where Spilman is saved from being sent to the extermination camps, the officer tells him not to run, something that is not in the book at...

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