The film Schindler’s list, is a powerful non-fiction historical film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg. The film followed Oscar Schindler, and a successful business man, and member of the Nazi party during WWII. However, he was also a drunk, and a womaniser with expensive taste. He opens an enamel wear factory, taking advantage of the business opportunities that come with war. he employs jews, as they are cheap. he quickly begins to make more money than one man can spend in a life time. He spends this money selfishly, and indulges in the pleasures of being a high class business man. Often running into, and doing business with Amon Göth, a commander of the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp. Until one day when he sees something that changes Schindler’s life forever.
In the beginning of the film, Schindler is a gambler and womanizer with a taste for alcohol. He started his business for the sole intent of taking advantage of the war to make money, he employed jews because they were cheap, and we wanted only competent jews with education and skill that would benefit his business. The real hero behind the operation is Itzhak Stern, the Jewish man Schindler highers as his accountant. Stern bends the rules to get as many jews employed in his factory as possible, to insure them accommodation and save them from concentration camps. Including a one armed man that would surely have been killed. Schindler’s factory becomes known as a haven due to Stern’s efforts. When Schindler hears of this he is initially outraged, for he wants his business to be know as just that, a business. However, his prophecy is fulfilled when he sees the girl in the red coat, and decides to start saving jews. by offering them work at his factory.
The film is in black and white, with only a few scenes with specifically selected colour. Originally, the only person at MCA/Universal who agreed with Spielberg’s decision to have the movie in black and white was CEO Sheinberg. Everyone else lobbied against the idea, saying that it would stylize the Holocaust. However, the director, Steven Spielberg, wanted to his depiction of the events to connect with audiences, and accurately reflect our recollection of them, as all of the photographs of the Holocaust are in black and white. It also has a very powerful significance when a man is shot in the head in the snowy streets of Kraków, his seemingly black blood spreads through the pure white snow, and the stark contrast in colors emphasizes the split between life and death, good and evil. Select amounts of colour were also used in the film, to symbolism hope. The first 30 seconds of the film are in colour, as we see a Jewish family practicing the Sabbath, when they were allowed to do so openly. We then see the screen abruptly cut to a train in black and white, symbolising the end of hope for their religion, and the practice of it. Another time we see this symbolic colour is in one of the most significant scenes in the movie, when Oskar encounters a small girl, of approximately 6 years of age in a red coat. He caught sight of her from a distance, and her jacket was in colour to draw attention to her. We see her walk through the streets as families are ripped from their homes and violently beaten around her. She walked calmly, into a house, and hides under the bed. She represents hope, for the Jews trying their best to survive the horrors happening around them. As many have hidden in this way, attempting to avoid detection. We later see her body being carted to a bonfire to be burned. The colour is really significant here, as we would not have drawn the connection between the two images if not for her red jacket. The image of her dead body clearly resonates with Oskar, as he finally sees what is being down to these people, as young and innocent as 6 years old. He sees them as people, with a heart and a brain, rather than objects to be bought and sold. And he decides to help them.
One of the main messages in the film is the brutality endured by the Jewish, and Steven Spielberg portrayed the barbarism in all of it’s sickening glory. One of the most clever ways he dose this is with the very language of the film. It was originally proposed that the film would be in German with English subtitles, however Spielberg thought this would give audiences a reason toot pay full attention, to the disturbing violence of the Holocaust, and the effect on audiences would be lessened. The result is a film that is not for the faint of heart, but conveys a powerful message of inhumanity and survival.
Included in the film is full front and back nudity, leading to it’s rating of pg. The nudity is excessive, and graphic, but it is not tasteless or without reason. It is to depict how Jews were objectified in front of many people to determine their worth. Graphically portraying how the they were treated as less than human, and could simply be order to strip off their clothes in a very conservative time, in front of many people to quantify their value as a worker. Dehumanizing them in the most graphic way. The idea of dehumanising jews is later revisited in a different way when we see Schindler celebrating his birthday. He seems to have a tradition of kissing every girl in the room, and this seems perfectly fine until a young jewish woman, and little girl that work in his factory came to wish him a happy birthday. Following in his tradition, he kissed the young woman which shocks everyone in the room, and she is clearly confused, but Schindler does not give it a second thought. He is later jailed for this. This shows, not only Schindler acceptance of the Jews as a people, but how they are viewed as less than by the Nazis. In the most demeaning way. This was a cleaver way of depicting both points, while also showing Amon Göth’s relation to him, as he bails him out of jail, explaining that the woman was very attractive, and Schindler has a weekness for beautiful women.
You could argue that Stern was the hidden hero, he certainly was in the beginning, however in the end, it is Schindler who ultimately spends millions to save almost 2,000 jews. Which is another great thing about this movie, it portrays the story of Oskar Schindler in it’s whole truth, it depicts all the heros of the story, not just Schindler. Because it is not just his story, it is the story of his business, and the factory that saved 2,000 Jews from concentration camps, and Schindler was the main hero, not the be all and end all. It would have been very easy for them to show Schindler as a selfless saint from the start, but they didn’t. They showed his drinking, and his womanising, and the selfish way in which he ran his business in the beginning while Stern quietly saved jews behind his back, and building the reputation of his factory. Paving the way for Schindler to become a hero later.
The most heart breaking part in the movie is at the end when Schindler is bidding farewell to his workers, preparing to go on the run after the war was won, as he is still viewed as a member of the Nazi party, and a slave profiter. Schindler comes to the realisation that many of the small luxuries he kept for himself, such as his car and his gold ring, could have been sold and the money made could have saved more people. He goes around each of his possessions, questioning why he kept them, and stating how many people could have even saved with the money it cost, convinced his sacrifice was not enough, and that he could have saved more people. The grief is too much for him, and he collapses, sobbing. The crowd of his workers that had gathered to see him off, including Itzhak Stern, embraced him, reassuring him that his sacrifice was enough, and they were all alive because of him. It is truly a saddening scene, an provides the heart ache that was expected in such a tragic event.
In conclusion, this movie is not for everyone, it contains scenes that may disturb or offend some viewers. However, it is a very powerful film with a very direct message, for those who can stomach it, and is a. very enjoyable film. The message is clear, and nothing was overlooked when bringing this horror to life. The purposefulness is influential, adding to a wonderfull experience for those who don’t mind a heavy film with a dark message.