Schindler's List - Triumph of the Human Spirit

                                      Imagine a moment when you are quite settled, having fun and leading a respectable life. You have a job, business, family members, hobbies, etc. And then all of a sudden your stability is deeply jerked and your feet uprooted from the ground, your life entirely shaken and finally snuffed out from your blood and flesh. It sounds awful, isn't it? This is exactly what happened in the life of hundreds and thousands of Jews, who were depicted as war prisoners. 
                                             Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List is a staggeringly intense Holocaust epic, with the visions of profound shock and terror. It tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German Catholic factory owner whose heroic efforts rescued over 1100 Jews from certain death in the gas chambers. The power to kill and the power to save are the two ends of the spectrum, and "Schindler's List" depicts both with stunning clarity.

       The story begins when the German Army defeats the Polish forces and take over Poland, while all the Jews in the country are relocated to the big cities. They are then confined in an enclosed area or a ghetto , as per the orders of the Nazis. In the meantime, Oskar Schindler, a German businessman belonging to the Nazi party , arrives in the city and bribes the major officials to set up a factory so that he can benefit by employing a large number of Jews for manufacturing purposes. However, he is profoundly affected when he begins to witness innumerable Jews being shot to death and killed without mercy by the hands and orders of the SS Lieutenant of the area, Amon Goeth .

                                   The rest of the film follows Schindler’s transformation from a mean-spirited, cunning businessman to a noble and selfless soul who ends up going to any lengths to save his Jewish workers from being one of the millions, who were unabashedly killed in the Nazi Concentration camps

          Spielberg goes beyond ''dramatizing'' the Holocaust: He re stages it with an existential vividness unprecedented in any non-documentary film. He makes us feel as if we're living inside the 20th century's darkest- and most defining-episode. He elected to film this motion picture in black-and-white, and it's impossible to argue with his choice. One of the striking highlights was the cinematography . Director of Photography Janusz Kaminski has made effective use of shadow and light. Michael Kahn's editing moves with dynamic swiftness when desired and holds on scenes when required, making the running time seem shorter.
                                        The acting is uniformly excellent. Liam Neeson's Schindler is shown in all his complexity, and his transformation is played with studied control. This is no sudden reversal of philosophy, but a matter of conscience that slowly dawns on the man. Ben Kingsley, whose Gandhi transfixed audiences years ago, has the movie's most understated role -- one that he acts with simple sincerity. Ralph Fiennes stuns with his complex, savage portrayal of the Nazi commander, a man fascinated by power and murder. Fiennes' Goeth has the rare ability to both mesmerize and repulse. He's the dirty underbelly of the Nazi machine, the essence of monstrousness. 

                                          The violence is graphic, but it is also realistic and absolutely necessary. To down play it in any way would be an insult to the memory of six million murdered Jews. Despite the grisly subject matter, this movie is essentially about uncovering a kernel of hope and dignity in the midst of a monstrous tragedy. Uncompromising in its portrayal of good, evil, and all the shades in between, Schindler's List offers a clear view of human nature laid bare: hatred, greed, lust, envy, anger, and, most important of all, empathy and love.  

In the movie, Itzhak Stern(Ben Kingsley), hands over a ring to Schindler, while mouthing the quote:

’It’s Hebrew. It’s from the Talmud. It says, whoever saves one life, saves the world entire’

Oscar Schindler, the protagonist, takes the ring, and at once, speechless from the gratitude showered upon him by over a thousand Jews whose lives he had saved, breaks down. Words come reluctantly out of his mouth as he struggles to speak back .

’I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don’t know. If I’d just... I could have got more’

Schindler, overburdened by his past guilt of being one of the war profiteers, sobs uncontrollably, while a number of Jews crowd together to hold him.   

                           And that, was just one of the many speechless, tear-jerking magical moment from Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List.

The movie won seven Oscars including Best Director .


Satish Mutatkar said...

truly wonderful.....

Manreet Sodhi Someshwar said...

Schindler's List is a towering achievement by Spielberg - glad to meet another fan. Cheers to a great post!

Ruchi Sunandan said...

Amazing film.. one of my favs.
your post does justice to the film!