7.9/10
6,665
57 user 41 critic

The Piano Player (1999)

Gloomy Sunday - Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod (original title)
Not Rated | | Romance, Drama | 21 October 1999 (Germany)
Follows three men who are in love with a most beautiful waitress: An intellectual restaurant owner, a mysterious musician and an erratic businessman; taking place during the WWII.

Director:

Rolf Schübel

Writers:

Ruth Toma (screenplay), Rolf Schübel (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon

7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Erika Marozsán ... Ilona
Joachim Król ... László
Ben Becker ... Hans Wieck
Stefano Dionisi ... András
András Bálint András Bálint ... Ilonas Sohn
Géza Boros Géza Boros ... Geigenspieler
Rolf Becker ... Herr Wieck
Ilse Zielstorff Ilse Zielstorff ... Frau Wieck
Ferenc Bács Ferenc Bács ... Botschafter
Júlia Zsolnai Júlia Zsolnai ... Frau des Botschafters
Áron Sipos Áron Sipos ... Arzt (as Aron Sipos)
Ernst Kahl Ernst Kahl ... Zeichner Torresz
Jörg Gillner Jörg Gillner ... Chefkoch István
Denis Moschitto ... Lehrling Inas
István Mikó István Mikó ... Kartoffelhändler
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Storyline

Budapest in the thirties. The restaurant owner Laszlo hires the pianist András to play in his restaurant. Both men fall in love with the beautiful waitress Ilona who inspires András to his only composition. His song of Gloomy Sunday is, at first, loved and then feared, for its melancholic melody triggers off a chain of suicides. The fragile balance of the erotic ménage à trois is sent off kilter when the German Hans goes and falls in love with Ilona as well. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Romance | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany | Hungary

Language:

German | English | Hungarian

Release Date:

21 October 1999 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Piano Player See more »

Filming Locations:

Budapest, Hungary See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,102, 22 June 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$223,827, 23 November 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film has been running daily at the Academy Arts Centre Theatre in Christchurch, New Zealand since 2001 - and you still have book in advance because it is sold out (it's shown in a small 11-seat theatre). See more »

Goofs

When the trio goes to a movie theater, they watch a newsreel that declares that the song "Gloomy Sunday" "drove 157 people in Hungary to suicide in the past eight weeks." We don't know whether that statement ever actually appeared in a German newsreel during the war. In any event, there is no evidence that the song ever actually drove more than a handful of people--if any--to suicide. See more »

Quotes

László: Everyone would like it all: something for the body, something for the soul. Something that fills you up, something that makes you hungry.
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Soundtracks

Komm Zigan
Music by Emmerich Kálmán (as Emmerich Kalman)
Lyrics by Julius Brammer and Alfred Grünwald
Josef Weinberger Ltd./Octavia Music Australia, London
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User Reviews

 
a fascinating moral parable
28 August 2006 | by lsimmondsSee all my reviews

This beautiful and moving film provides via a sensitively handled love affair an intriguingly subtle morality play.

The owner of a restaurant saves the life of a German who is trying to commit suicide after being turned down - by the restaurateur's mistress.

This character goes on to achieve power as a Nazi. He uses his power to save 1000 Jews from the concentration camps, and makes a fortune for himself in the process.

He does good simply to benefit himself. Was it right to save his life? Had he died, so many other lives would not have been saved. His life is interlinked with the lives and deaths of other people.

It would be unfair to elaborate further on this theme, as it would give away the plot.

The film also returns to the idea of life and death with its theme of suicide; suicide being the ultimate way to take control of your own life.

With all of these thoughts, it is still an entertaining and uplifting movie, with the most exquisite theme. Life and death are united in the English lyrics given at the end, which combine gloom and hope in the most extraordinary fashion.

A fair bit of philosophy built into a simple and tastefully done move makes for good entertainment.


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