Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

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movielocke
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

Re: Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#76 Post by movielocke » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:50 pm

I’ve only seen it twice once in high school once in college.

In high school I was blown away by the “reality” of it all, that it didn’t shy away from showing stuff, it was totally different from reading textbook accounts, excerpts of famous writers takes, the umpteenth iteration of Anne frank, or seeing textbook carefully selected semi sanitized photographs, or watching an excerpt of pbs documentaries in the style of ken burns. For pretty much everyone I knew, Spielberg’s film actually made an impact, it wasn’t just learning about yet another of history’s abstract horrors, those horrors were given explicit shape and form.

In college, studying it as film, I was impressed by the production, how impressive the performances were, the construction and editing of the film, the Self reflexive coda with children actors and their real life counterparts at Schindler’s grave, the use of black and white to set the film apart from typical commercial film and signify it as both artistic and important. Amazingly, although we all read the common material about the commodification of the holocaust and sins of Spielberg-the-successful (in retrospect the act of possession over the “right way” to parse the holocaust is itself an act of commodification and naked financial self interest isn’t it?), the associated reading didn’t spark the usual debates, in the context of the film, the essays were ineffective without a strong argument rooted in the film (most seemed to have been written without either having seen the film or with a poor memory of the film) and or seemed self serving and petulant. Most of the discussion centered on how we ourselves had experienced consuming the holocaust throughout our lives and education up to that point, not about whether or not Spielberg’s dramatization was inherently wrong by virtue of being done by Spielberg (which is the central thrust of just about every anti Schindler’s list article I’ve ever read).

Interesting aside, the financial success of this film almost certainly caused innumerable subsequent holocaust films (narrative, doc, and tv programs) around the world to acquire funding and green lights. Whether or not Spielberg’s approach was fundamentally wrong, the financial success of the film has led to so many other voices and perspectives being heard that might have never ever been possible before. And it also led to the creation of incomparable documentation by the Shoah foundation in the critical years before so many people that experienced it died.

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MyFathersSon
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Re: Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#77 Post by MyFathersSon » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:14 pm

Ribs wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:56 pm
...has there been another restoration? I'm not seeing anything about it when looking it up. Genuinely curious if it has been if Uni might put it out on 4K in the Fall, possibly the first monochrome title to get put out.
For the December 7th theatrical re-release, digitally remastered 4K, Dolby Vision laser projection, with deeper, richer blacks, more contrast, and brightness. Dolby Atmos remixed sound to accommodate advances in theater technology. No release date yet for 4K Dolby Atmos Blu-ray.

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barryconvex
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Re: Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#78 Post by barryconvex » Tue Dec 18, 2018 3:45 am

Quick question-Before Schindler moves into his apartment outside the ghetto we see a Jewish family being forced to vacate. As the family exits the patriarch pries something from the door frame kisses it and then puts it in his pocket. What is that object called and what is its significance?

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HypnoHelioStaticStasis
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Re: Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#79 Post by HypnoHelioStaticStasis » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:26 am

It's called a Mezuzah. It's a small box that contains verses from the Torah inside, and is considered essential to hang on the front door of every Jewish home. They're very sacred to religious families, which will often bring the same Mezuzahs with them when they move.

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barryconvex
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Re: Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#80 Post by barryconvex » Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:30 am

Ah, ok. Thanks hypno...

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HypnoHelioStaticStasis
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Re: Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#81 Post by HypnoHelioStaticStasis » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:25 am

No problem.

I've actually been thinking a lot about this film lately in light of upticks in hate crimes. As a not-religious-at-all Jew, my feeling towards it are increasingly complicated. On the one hand, next to "Shoah", it is perhaps the most grand-scale and definitive view of the Holocaust that we are ever going to get from Hollywood, from a director at the peak of his powers. On the other hand, its symbolic use of color has always come across as SO heavy-handed (although I didn't notice the subtle yellow of the candle flame at the end until my third viewing, I think), and the performances are all over the map: Neeson makes Schindler seem overly naive and his restraint borders on catatonic, Kingsley is hammy but entertaining as always, Fiennes is a dastardly cartoon (to be fair, Amon Goethe by all accounts WAS such a person), and Embeth Davidtz and Jonathan Sagall are so excellent in their relatively small parts that I wish we got more of them.

But in a sense, this is the perfect film for TEACHING people about the Holocaust. I had to watch it twice in school: Once in sixth grade history, once in tenth grade (i've seen it a handful of other times beyond that). It was fascinating watching kids grapple with the subject matter. I always felt the first hour was the strongest section: more than any other movie, it shows the system in which the nazis and their victims lived, and how genocide is physically perpetuated. My fellow students were literally in disbelief, to the point where one teacher made them look in the textbook for photographic proof. It's really not hard for me to believe that people would dismiss the Holocaust so readily... it just seems so beyond human capabilities. I don't know if that reaction to violence from a contemporary perspective is a good thing or not, but it's interesting.

I wish I could find a clip of it, but it reminds of that scene David Simon and Charles S. Dutton's "The Corner," where one of the characters goes to see "Schindler's List" in a theatre to stay inside for a few hours. It turns out to be a revelatory experience for him; he can barely believe its possible. Great scene from a great show.
Last edited by HypnoHelioStaticStasis on Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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tenia
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Re: Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#82 Post by tenia » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:03 am

I've always wondered if the seemingly naive depiction of Schindler was a way to emphasize how many were naive at the time about what was really happening. I was reading yesterday a small article about John Rabe's action in Nankin and it was mentioning that even at the time, he seemed to have no knowledge about what really was happening there and even wrote to Hitler himself to ask him to stop the massacre there at Nankin (which only made him suspect and Rabe got interrogated when he went back to Germany later).


Another thing I read yesterday, about Schindler's List this time, was Kubrick's take on the movie, which seemed to me interesting int the ambivalence the film can project sometimes : "Think that's about the Holocaust? That was about success, wasn't it? The Holocaust is about 6 million people who get killed. Schindler's List is about 600 who don't." It's very true in a way, even in a relatively neutral way : the movie is not so much about all these people being killed, but about how some were saved.

As for the impact of the movie, I found it incredibly powderful and effective. It is probably all over the places at times, yet, it always sweeps me up my feet in an incredible manner. The first time I watched, I almost couldn't bear it (and I wasn't that young, I probably was 17 or 18 already), and both the breakdown of Schindler for not having down enough and the epilogue in color just made me weep. I watched those again last night, just those. 5-10 minutes. And whoosh it came pouring just like that.

I don't know what to do with that, because it still is a commercial movie, some kind, no matter what, of a "big movie" with a big director and a 3 big actors. But it just works. So well and so badly at the same time.

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HypnoHelioStaticStasis
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Re: Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#83 Post by HypnoHelioStaticStasis » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:01 pm

It's a very impactful film for me as well, regardless of its flaws. The epilogue at the cemetery transcends most historical narrative films, because it shows the audience directly that this thing which they saw dramatized by world-class actors was real and brutal.

As much as I like Neeson as an actor, I do feel he's miscast. The impression I get from reading about Schindler was that he was quite a decadent, at times abrasive guy. Neeson can do world-weariness, but I can't picture him as a man about town. I'm not sure who I would have cast... who's the modern-day Claude Rains?

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#84 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:39 pm

I haven't seen this since it was first released on home video almost 25 years ago (I would have been 11 at the time), but I will say the scene where Schindler belatedly realizes how much more he could have done by sacrificing relatively little was a formative moment in my ethical/moral development, and has remained a touchstone dramatization of the cost of a lack of urgency (or a lack of willingness to give up ultimately meaningless luxuries) in the face of moral catastrophe. I have no idea how well it would play to me now — beside this scene, I only remember a handful of images and no other dialogue — but it certainly made an impression at the time.

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tenia
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Re: Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#85 Post by tenia » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:36 pm

HypnoHelioStaticStasis wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:01 pm
The epilogue at the cemetery transcends most historical narrative films, because it shows the audience directly that this thing which they saw dramatized by world-class actors was real and brutal.
Exactly. The movie is shot in B&W often with handheld cameras to a period documentary feel. I haven't seen Night and Fog since quite some time but I wouldn't be surprised if the apparatus movements are quite similar. It places you in that time, not here and now, and not especially far in time, but it's not now, at our times. It's not us, it's the generations before us, and despite sharing that heritage in a way, it's in the past. Our past, but the past.

And this epilogue, in color, NOW, reminds us that it's not just the past but that it's there, it's real, it peers through time and WE need to remember that in a way, we're human as much as the generations before us were. This is where the continuity lies and probably where, to me, is the most important message from all this : we need to remember that this was us, and this was real, and we might do it again if we're not careful.

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