I would do it again, over and||over – for I hate cruelty and||intolerance. ” |In 1972, two years before he died, Oscar Schindler told a friend:Schindler’s List by Steven Spielberg is a world-renowned film based on thedrama of the World War 2 Holocaust survivors and the man who unexpectedlycame to be their savoir. War profiteer Oskar Schindler uses Polish Jews ascheap labour to produce cookware for the German forces. But afterwitnessing the violent demise of the walled ghetto where the Krakow Jewshave been forced to live, Schindler slowly begins to realize the immenseevil of the Nazis. The film Schindler’s List won 7 Academy Awards in theyear it was released, boasted high rated reviews and had large box-officeturnovers.
It was even officially endorsed by the President of the USA, atthe time – Bill Clinton. So how come it is so widely rated as such an extradionary film? In EricEnders review his remarks were:”It is entertaining to be sure, but it is much more than that. It is gut-wrenching, emotional, and visionary. Sitting in the theatre, I knew thiswas something special, a film and an experience I will never forget. “One of the main reasons Schindler’s List is so successful is because thefilm is based and portrays such a debatable topic: The Holocaust. No othermajor films have been made relating specifying only to this topic due to itbeing such a coarse and extremely graphic issue.
“It was brutally graphic,but not in a gratuitous way like the popular films of today, it was graphicbecause it was an accurate portrayal of true event in history. Without theviolence and nudity it would have betrayed the truth, sugar-coating it, andproviding a dishonest picture of the evil that was the Holocaust. “StevenSpielberg’s reasons for making the film stated in an interview was “Iwanted to expose the intricate nature of the Holocaust to the World”. Manyfilm critics have argued since the film was released about the filmshorrific nature and one of the main questions has been; was the filmaccurately portrayed? – Is the film overdone in juxtaposition with realevents? – Or does the film not accurately show the brutal and inhumaneevents that really took place? In my analysis I wish to endeavour in tothe extent of how much Schindler’s List accurately portrays with reality ofevents.
People’s comments on Oskar Schindler all say the same thing he was a shrewdbusinessman, a womaniser, a drinker, a gambler, driven by greed and a lustfor high living. These qualities are seen in the first time we seeSchindler. “Our first encounter with Schindler is with his back, hishands, his cache of money, and his preparations for some high stakesgamble. We watch the figure of Schindler bribe the headwaiter. And he isalready sitting at a ringside table in the art deco cabaret”.
We then see Schindler go into his dressing room, pick up his gold nazi(swastika) pin and proudly put it through the buttonhole of his coat. Thisshows he has a lot respect for the nazi party, as he is still a member ofthe Pro-Nazi Henlein party. Schindler’s List uses very effective and relevant film techniques. One ofthe 7 Academy Awards the film won was for best screenplay, this award waswon due its producing techniques. The most notable and effective techniqueis the use of colour (or lack of) as the film is ‘entirely’ black andwhite.
“Schindler’s List is not only well-acted, but technically superior. Janusz Kaminski’s thoughtful black-and-white cinematography helps evoke thetime and places portrayed. ” The black and white helps us feel moreinvolved with the time that it’s set in and it is also a key ingredient inthe movie’s aesthetic success. Colour intensifies most of the emotionalvalues in film that are very depressing. Also the use of black and whitecolour brings out the main reason for the Holocaust The Holocaust was avast evil engine set whirling by racism and madness. Although the mostcommon form of racism is black and white, people relate this to thecinematography and can see how the Jews are segregated and are givenunequal, inhumane rights.
The film authenticity is also superb, after weeks of negations with localbodies and Jewish organisations, Steven Spielberg was allowed to use theactual locations for his film. Locations that were used in the filmincluded the Auschwitz ‘Labour Camp’ and Schindlers’ actual factory. Theother locations used that were not actual scenes looked like they were veryauthentic to what they would have been like, for example the Lodz Ghettohad extremely good detail and looked very genuine. The selection of the actors in Schindler’s List are superbly chosen andfit smoothly with all the aspects of the film. Liam Neeson (who playsOskar Schindler) brilliantly portrays his role and his physical as well ashis character is accurate assumption of the role being played. LiamNeeson, although very well known to theatregoers, was a very low-profilestar and has an unknown quality to his audience.
– Their Schindler islarger-than-life on the screen. Neeson’s film presence is iconic. Hiscarved features and size suggest some Roman statue of a god come to life. Like Schindler, Neeson was relatively unfamiliar to American film audiencesand so did not carry much baggage of past roles into the part. Theprevious quotes show that Liam Neeson was widely unknown before his role inSchindler’s List but fitted in with his screen character.
The other main role in Schindler’s List was Itzhak Stern the Jewishaccountant in charge of the factory well being. Ben Kingsley, unlikeNeeson, played this role; Kingsley was a widely known and renowned actor. He had played major role in other films, his most famous appearance was inGhandi (where he won an Oscar for best actor), although he brought inqualities from other films his performance was very unhollywood like. Movie critics praised his performance: Itzhak Stern played with self-effacing brilliance by Ben Kingsley, who gives the movie just the touch ofwarmth and sanity it needs.
Another important role in the film is that of Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes) aSS Commandant Officer of a Nazi camp. He is bet summed up in this comment:Amon Goeth is a scholar in the study of, stupidity of evil – from theveranda of his “villa,” overlooking the prison yard, he shoots Jews fortarget practice. The main purpose of his role is to show how the Jewsmeant nothing to the SS officers; they would shout a Jew for a small reasonor for no apparent reason only because they were a Jew.