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Successful doctor Artur Planck (Joseph Fiennes), his wife Clara (Neve McIntosh) and their two daughters are seeking shelter from the Nazis storming Poland. They find a safe house in the farm of Emilia (Kelly Harrison), their local grocer who is all alone after her husband fought for his country and never returned. Amidst the horrors of the war that surrounds them, an impossible love triangle erupts as Emelia uncontrollably falls in love with Artur. Such a fragile arrangement is sustained by love - or is it just the will to survive? The answer to that question may not even be made known to those who make it out alive
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Inevitably, viewers who have seen Roman Polanski's Oscar-winning Holocaust movie THE PIANIST will want to compare SPRING 1941 to it. There are undeniable similarities: both movies are about musicians (Szpilman in THE PIANIST, Artur's wife, Clara, in SPRING 1941); both movies are set in Poland. THE PIANIST, however, was a film with a large cast and a big budget, whose titular character was a real person; SPRING 1941, based on short stories, has a small cast and budget -- yet it uses its limited resources extremely well and never actually looks "made on the cheap." It is a classy, beautifully acted film with things to say about the Holocaust that are different than what THE PIANIST said or what SCHINDLER'S LIST said. Several scenes in SPRING 1941 are truly horrifying, and the movie as a whole will haunt you for days and weeks. My only complaint is that I believe more or better incidental music could have enhanced the drama.