Jews Holocaust films narrate or document the persecution and genocide of Jews and others under the Nazi third reich of Adolf Hitler. From the 1935 Nuremberg laws that excluded Jews from citizenship, to the destruction of theirs synagogues and businesses, to the rounding up of Jews not only in Germany but in all German occupied territory, to the operation of the Nazi death camps and other acts of mass murder, these traumatic events in the modern history constitute the Holocaust, or so it is called, the Shoah.
Holocaust films are not a celebration of sadism. Some of the greatest films ever made, happen to be Holocaust movies and the probable reason for that is, that it mirrors life at its extremes by juxtaposing the most appalling atrocities humans are capable of along with the unimaginable love, perseverance and power of the human spirit.
Holocaust Representation In Shoah
Ever since the appearance of Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, only eight years after Claude Lanzmann's Shaoh(1985), these two films have come to represent the polarities in a debate in how cinema should tell stories about the Holocaust. Lanzmann's film gathers first-person reports that centers on the process of systematic arrest, transport, internment, and annihilation of Europe's Jewish population; it shuns dramatization in favor of the setting of these interviews against the contemporary landscapes at the sites in which the tragic events took place.
It strategically refuses to recreate past horrors except through verbal tellings, so that the visual in the film rests only on the speakers and on landscapes that are otherwise silent about the events that once occurred there. Yet Shoah, is a documentary concerned with the documents, and with oral history as a form of documentation. To hear testimonies, presented with all its emotional weight for the victims, is newly compelling.
The secretly recorded interviews with former Nazis need to be heard in the context of victims interviews, to hear in contrast the emotional withdrawal and denial that occurred, especially vivid when the former Nazis reports facts that coincide with the victims accounts. The interviews with polish peasants and workers reveal not only antisemitism in the past, but lingering antisemitism embedded within their narratives.
Holocaust Representation In Schindler's List
Schindler's List, by contrast, fictionally amplifies a fraction of Holocaust history for emotional effects. Shot in black and white, the film is acutely stark, simplistic and devoid of Spielberg’s trademark wizardry. The film is a treasure-trove of unforgettable characters including the Schindler (Liam Neeson) also more powerful characters like the quiet good angel Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley) and the shockingly satanic Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes).
The relationship of Hollywood to Holocaust begins with the denial, and then 50 years later Hollywood's greatest director creates an Academy-Award winning Holocaust film. But, in many ways Spielberg did so by taking stock of how the story had been told throughout the years -- it's not that Schindler's List is derivative, but it is derived. The graphic footage in the films of 80's, allowed Spielberg to use film in more subtle ways.
It was so powerful because of the casualness of its storytelling. It's the reticence that makes it more effective. In Schindler's List, Spielberg uses a young girl in a red dress as the only spot of color in an otherwise black and white movie. He explains, that it is, a metaphor for America's complicity. The Holocaust was, Spielberg says, "a large blood stain, and nobody did anything about it."
Can movies like this stop further Holocausts from happening? Well, let me tell you a incident. Movie-goers filled the theaters to watch Schindler's List at the time of its release. The viewers left the theater with deep sorrow at the depths to which humanity could sink. Meanwhile, preparations were underway to kill every Tutsi man, woman and child in Rwanda. UN peace keepers were present in Rwanda with a mandate to protect civilians. Yet, when the genocidal plans began, the UN forces withdrew. And, look what happened to our Srilankan Tamils.
Movies like Hotel Rwanda, Shooting Dogs powerfully portrayed the Rwandan genocide . Similarly many movies about the genocide of Srilankan Tamils will be taken in the future. But, how could such powerful films, was ineffective in motivating people to act , when another genocide was underway?
Well, a movie can arouse your emotions; it can show you the sorrow of the victims. But, humanity depends only through our actions against these atrocities.