Schindler’s List (1993)
Not many words can adequately describe what is contained within the epic that is Schindler’s List (1993) that sees a greedy factory owner who’s drive to be successful during WWII to become a highly regarded man in the eyes of the Jewish people.
It’s hard viewing from the first time we are immersed into the harsh black and white that reminds you of the horrific archive footage that recorded the holocaust during WWII. Steven Spielberg doesn’t hold back on any punches of the reality that the Jews experienced.
Set for the first act in Krakow as the influx of Jews into the town increased under occupation in Poland found an enterprising German Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) who had previously failed in business, realizing his chance this time to set up a factory producing enameled cutlery for the front line forces. Turning to the influx of Jews that are/were perceived to be good with money (as the stereotype has it). Leading to the collaboration and unlikely friendship between Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley) as his accountant.
As the war develops we see the awful crimes begin to be committed as they are rounded up in brutal form that we all recognize, yet heightened in black and white and the upfront honesty of the cinematography that takes us onto the streets amongst the persecuted. The inclusion of a single girl in a red coat signifies the dying and the lost who are forgotten in the liquidation scenes of mass upheaval, hysteria and horror that filled the streets all over Poland’s large cities.
With the introduction of Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes) we have a strong link to the strong Nazi side of this film, a conflicted man whose driven by power and alcoholism. The commandant only becomes weak in the presence of what we see as an enlightened Schindler who can manipulate him for his own gain. Which in turn saves the lives of 11/1200 Jews from the concentration camps.
Schindler is a conflicted individual whilst being a member of the Nazi party does not share the same values concerning Jews. Yet sees the opportunity of cheap labor during the war, which at one point he admits to his wife. He becomes a far more liberal Nazi who has more humanity than the whole regime, which ultimately changes him that leads to the historical list that is written.
Schindlers List is one of those films that should be on watched at least once, to gauge a wider understanding of the Jewish struggle. Sensitively directed by a Jewish director who did the material justice, cranking up the sentimentalism Spielberg is known for. This is also cancelled out by the subject matter that needs no more to produce an emotional reaction by an audience. There are somethings in life that we will never truly understand, it takes works like this to try to bridge that gap between ignorance and understanding that is needed to reach cultures and generations of people who have been effected by atrocities.