The Polanski film Death and the Maiden is a wonderful and intelligent interpretation of Ariel Dorfman’s human rights problem play. Polanski has produced, in this film, an exceptional piece of direction, in which his own personal, emotional input is evident. The main theme of the play is an extremely personal one for both playwright (and scriptwriter) and director. Both Dorfman and Polanski have had to face and flee the horrors of dictatorship and human
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demons Paulina has been permanently changed by her ordeal. And although she may have “…reclaimed [her] Schubert…” in that she can now sit in a concert hall and listen to the music, the music will never be able to tell her the same things again. And even if Roberto is not there in person (as he is in the final scene) he will always exist as a vague presence, a “phantasmagorical” shadow on her soul.