|”What is there to say? They are my||friends. 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 the
drama of the World War 2 Holocaust survivors and the man who unexpectedly
came to be their savoir. War profiteer Oskar Schindler uses Polish Jews as
cheap labour to produce cookware for the German forces. But after
witnessing the violent demise of the walled ghetto where the Krakow Jews
have been forced to live, Schindler slowly begins to realize the immense
evil of the Nazis. The film Schindler’s List won 7 Academy Awards in the
year it was released, boasted high rated reviews and had large box-office
turnovers. It was even officially endorsed by the President of the USA, at
the time – Bill Clinton.

So how come it is so widely rated as such an extradionary film? In Eric
Enders 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 this
was something special, a film and an experience I will never forget.”
One of the main reasons Schindler’s List is so successful is because the
film is based and portrays such a debatable topic: The Holocaust. No other
major films have been made relating specifying only to this topic due to it
being 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 graphic
because it was an accurate portrayal of true event in history. Without the
violence and nudity it would have betrayed the truth, sugar-coating it, and
providing a dishonest picture of the evil that was the Holocaust.”Steven
Spielberg’s reasons for making the film stated in an interview was “I
wanted to expose the intricate nature of the Holocaust to the World”. Many
film critics have argued since the film was released about the films
horrific nature and one of the main questions has been; was the film
accurately portrayed? – Is the film overdone in juxtaposition with real
events? – Or does the film not accurately show the brutal and inhumane
events that really took place? In my analysis I wish to endeavour in to
the extent of how much Schindler’s List accurately portrays with reality of
events.

People’s comments on Oskar Schindler all say the same thing he was a shrewd
businessman, a womaniser, a drinker, a gambler, driven by greed and a lust
for high living. These qualities are seen in the first time we see
Schindler. “Our first encounter with Schindler is with his back, his
hands, his cache of money, and his preparations for some high stakes
gamble. We watch the figure of Schindler bribe the headwaiter. And he is
already 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. This
shows he has a lot respect for the nazi party, as he is still a member of
the Pro-Nazi Henlein party.


Schindler’s List uses very effective and relevant film techniques. One of
the 7 Academy Awards the film won was for best screenplay, this award was
won due its producing techniques. The most notable and effective technique
is the use of colour (or lack of) as the film is ‘entirely’ black and
white. “Schindler’s List is not only well-acted, but technically superior.

Janusz Kaminski’s thoughtful black-and-white cinematography helps evoke the
time and places portrayed.” The black and white helps us feel more
involved with the time that it’s set in and it is also a key ingredient in
the movie’s aesthetic success. Colour intensifies most of the emotional
values in film that are very depressing. Also the use of black and white
colour brings out the main reason for the Holocaust The Holocaust was a
vast evil engine set whirling by racism and madness. Although the most
common form of racism is black and white, people relate this to the
cinematography and can see how the Jews are segregated and are given
unequal, inhumane rights.

The film authenticity is also superb, after weeks of negations with local
bodies and Jewish organisations, Steven Spielberg was allowed to use the
actual locations for his film. Locations that were used in the film
included the Auschwitz ‘Labour Camp’ and Schindlers’ actual factory. The
other locations used that were not actual scenes looked like they were very
authentic to what they would have been like, for example the Lodz Ghetto
had extremely good detail and looked very genuine.

The selection of the actors in Schindler’s List are superbly chosen and
fit smoothly with all the aspects of the film. Liam Neeson (who plays
Oskar Schindler) brilliantly portrays his role and his physical as well as
his character is accurate assumption of the role being played. Liam
Neeson, although very well known to theatregoers, was a very low-profile
star and has an unknown quality to his audience. – Their Schindler is
larger-than-life on the screen. Neeson’s film presence is iconic. His
carved features and size suggest some Roman statue of a god come to life.

Like Schindler, Neeson was relatively unfamiliar to American film audiences
and so did not carry much baggage of past roles into the part. The
previous quotes show that Liam Neeson was widely unknown before his role in
Schindler’s List but fitted in with his screen character.

The other main role in Schindler’s List was Itzhak Stern the Jewish
accountant in charge of the factory well being. Ben Kingsley, unlike
Neeson, played this role; Kingsley was a widely known and renowned actor.

He had played major role in other films, his most famous appearance was in
Ghandi (where he won an Oscar for best actor), although he brought in
qualities 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 of
warmth and sanity it needs.

Another important role in the film is that of Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes) a
SS 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 the
veranda of his “villa,” overlooking the prison yard, he shoots Jews for
target practice. The main purpose of his role is to show how the Jews
meant nothing to the SS officers; they would shout a Jew for a small reason
or for no apparent reason only because they were a Jew.