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.
Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
- Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:33 pm
- Location: Grand Junction, CO
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.