I’ve never felt such a way about a film than I do about Schindler’s List. The only connection I’ve had to the movie is through Seinfeld, where Jerry and his girlfriend make out the entire movie. Now, I can’t believe it took me so many years to see the film.
An absolute masterpiece, Schindler’s List makes me want to consume even more material about the Holocaust and the horrors before and after it. I want to watch the film again, right now. I want to read Schindler’s Ark, the book it is based on. I want to watch Shoah, a nine-and-half-hour-long documentary consisting of interviews of both Jews and Nazis. Schindler’s List is a film everyone needs to see, and they need to see it right now.
Director Steven Spielberg’s use of black-and-white in filming makes the movie seem much more like a documentary and makes scenes such as the liquidation of the Kraków ghetto horrifically realistic. The use of German and Polish actors and extras also drastically increases the realism. The excavation and burning of the bodies at Kraków were awful. I was reminded of photos I had been shown in middle school of piles of burnt bodies.
The shower scene at Auschwitz was terrifying, although knowledge of the proceedings at the concentration camp led me to know what the outcome would be. This film is bleak, without joy. There is not even joy when Germany surrenders the war; there is only grief over the loved ones lost and the fear of what comes next.
Spielberg’s inclusion of the actual Schindlerjuden (the historical name for Jews rescued by Oskar Schindler) during the film’s epilogue was heart wrenching. Seeing theme-laying stones on Schindler’s grave alongside their actor counterparts was tough to watch, but also made me want to hear from each and every one of them their individual atrocities during the Holocaust. Perhaps that is the greatest praise I can give to Schindler’s List – I need to learn more about these events and feel terrible that I do not know enough.
Spielberg in part as a counter-measure against rising Neo-Nazi groups and antisemitism made the film after the fall of the Berlin Wall. There is no doubt that we are once again experiencing a rise in these ideologies. Just weeks prior to the writing of this article, James Fields was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Heather Heyer, a counter-protestor at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan has been emboldened by the election of Donald Trump, and racists and anti-Semites are no longer afraid of expressing their disgusting views. We need Schindler’s List now and going forward, and I advocate that the film should be shown in schools in its full, unedited form during the Holocaust portion of history curriculums.
I could continue lavishing praise on the film, as there is so much more to be said, but you should not be reading this any longer. You need to set aside three-and-a-half hours and watch Schindler’s List yourself. It is required viewing for everyone, no matter your aversion to violence and period pieces.
This portrayal of an incredibly narrow selection of events of the Holocaust should inform your viewpoints and convince you how destructive scapegoating and racism are. Everyone must watch this film, and I only hope everyone feels inclined to do more research and consume as much material as they can about the Holocaust and the six million Jews who were slaughtered.
Cast: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagalle, Embeth Davidtz
Schindler’s List Synopsis:
Businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) arrives in Krakow in 1939, ready to make his fortune from World War II, which has just started. After joining the Nazi party primarily for political expediency, he staffs his factory with Jewish workers for similarly pragmatic reasons. When the SS begins exterminating Jews in the Krakow ghetto, Schindler arranges to have his workers protected to keep his factory in operation, but soon realizes that in so doing, he is also saving innocent lives.
Categories: Movie Anniversaries