Can You Dramatize an Already Dramatic Event? Schindler’s List

         Schindler’s List is seen as a film that went beyond the boundaries of Hollywood. It is a film that test Hollywood’s ability to retell and ultimately shape public perceptions of the Holocaust, sparking many people to criticize the film because it creates the idea that it should be seen as a historical piece that accurately depicts the Holocaust

.          The authenticity of Schindler’s List has been a frequent criticism because of the Hollywood-like publicity that Spielberg drew before and after the release of the 1993 film making it seem like a “Hollywood Product” meant to entertain an audience, which brought a sense of spectacle to the Holocaust.

Spielberg’s representative manner of summarizing the total Holocaust experience into a movie about a certain individual makes the film concentrate on survival and not the death of millions. It is a film that does not tell the story of the Holocaust, but the triumph of a good over evil, a basic Hollywood plot.

         There is also criticism over Spielberg’s attempt to make Schindler’s List entirely authentic through the style of the film, by using black and white, authentic filming locations, and survivor testimonies. This led audiences to believe that the film was entirely true, when in actuality it was a fictionalized portrayal of a real man during the Holocaust.

         Some people criticize the use of a Nazi as the hero in one of the first major Holocaust-themed films. Although Schindler (Liam Neeson) is the main character, and hero, the main focus for point of view edits and reaction shots is Itzak Stern (Ben Kinglsey). Stern motivates the camera movements, and puts the audience in the eyes of a Jew during the Holocaust. By doing so, Spielberg helped the American public, and the world, recall events in their own memory and history, when people were persecuted for their beliefs. Through this, the film did achieve the main goal of any Holocaust movie, reinforcing the idea that this should never happen again.

         Schindler’s List should be viewed with a critical eye. It should not be looked at as a documentary or journalistic film, but as a film that sparks discussion. By discussing the film, people can come together and talk about persecution and how wrong the Holocaust was and relates it to the persecution of today.

Susie Shircliff

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