I. IntroductionMany cinematicworks have portrayed the evil of holocaust that led to the loss of thousands oflives during the Second World War at the brutality of the Nazis. It needs to bereckoned that both the genres of fiction and non-fiction films have portrayedthe historic occurrence in different ways that have successfully reached out tothe audience. Steven Spielberg’s seminal cinematic work, Schindler’s List, can be described as one of the very bestcinematic endeavors in the history of cinema. The entire work has beencomplemented by the stellar performances of Liam Neeson and Ben Kingsley. Thefilm about holocaust was made in the country of the United States of America,and Universal Pictures went on to distribute the film across the entire globe.
The famous creative artist, Steven Zaillian, went on to write the screenplay ofthis cinematic work. The film is a cinematic adaptation of the literary work, Schindler’s Ark, penned by the literaryartist, Thomas Keneally. Beyond any doubt, this cinematic endeavor goes on tostir the audience to the very core of the hearts owing to the quintessence ofaesthetic portrayal and emotional appeal of the narrative.
The filmic narrativespans for 184 minutes, and creates utmost emotional impact on the minds of theaudience with the sheer perfection of cinematic portrayal and the content. Evenafter so many years of the initial theatrical release in the year 1993, thiscinematic work has remained extremely popular among the audience. II. Characterizationin the filmThe filmmakerdevelops the titular character of Oskar Schindler all through the filmicnarrative to bring out the impact of the holocaust on the human psyche. Towardthe inception of the film, the audience sees how the male protagonist is bentupon making profit from his business venture, while he engages in a life ofmaterialism and grandeur. Schindler transforms from being a selfish businessmanwith Nazi ideology to one who braves all the odds coming in his way to save asmany lives of hapless Jews as possible. Schindler having started with the aimof extracting utmost profit by employing the workers at lower wages goes on toplan against the Nazi authorities to save Jews losing all his money in theprocess. He succeeds in saving eleven hundred Jews by the end of the war.
Spielberg highlightsthe relationship between the male protagonist and Itzhak Stern, his Jewishaccountant, played by Ben Kingsley. The filmmaker is successful in developingthe relationship between these two characters with utmost prowess and affectiveappeal for the audience. Stern is the only person who comprehends the emotionsand motives that drive a greedy man like Schindler to engage in the riskyaffair of saving the lives of so many Jews by duping the Nazis for so long. Thenarrative trajectory of the film explores the relationship between thecharacters, and also the experiences that ignite the higher motives in Oskar Schindler.The protagonist finally transforms into a selfless heroic character by the endof the film, having started off as a casual profiteer. There can be no denialof the fact that the transformation of the male protagonist as a character isinfluenced by his relationship with Stern.
Stern can be described as the catalyticforce that guides the selfish and materialistic man to become someone who doesnot care about money or position anymore. Oskar Schindler’s personaltransformation gets juxtaposed with the imagery showing the unfamiliar faces ofJewish prisoners who are on the receiving end of brutality and savagery thatget inflicted by the Nazis. The director leaves no stone unturned to bring outthe pain and suffering of the hapless Jews who were made to live in the ghettoand then in the concentration camps. III. Cinematic TechniquesThe film goes onto exude the use of perfect cinematic techniques that bring out the affectiveappeal of the narrative. The excellent cinematographic work communicates withthe audience with utmost effectiveness. Janusz Kaminiski’s appealingblack-and-white cinematography also portrays the character of Oskar Schindleras a mesh of supreme confidence and opportunism, while this is contrasted tothe surmounting hardships and imminent jeopardy of the Jewish people. Towardthe beginning, when Schindler takes over the kitchenware factory and occupiesthis apartment from where an affluent Jewish family has been evicted by theNazis, he does not come across to be a heroic character.
The directorjuxtaposes the grandeur and pomp encompassing Schindler’s lifestyle, while theJewish people are sent to the Cracow ghetto. When the ghetto gets evacuated,these Jews are sent to Plaszow that is overseen by Amon Goeth, a cruel,cold-hearted SS commandant. Oskar shows no sign of empathy toward the fate ofthe thousands of Jews toward the first part of the film, and is only bent onmaking profit for himself through his business.
Among thevarious exceptional elements that catapult the cinematic work to perfection,the editing by Michael Kahn should be mentioned discreetly. The film portraysthe perfect balance between dramatic elements and realism. Moreover, the backgroundscore composed by John Williams constitutes the soul of the film as the musicsets up the somber mood. The violin solos leaves a lasting impression on theaudience augmenting the affective impact of the entire film. It would becorrect to say that the director leaves no stone unturned to reach out to thespectators, and make the filmic text a memorable one that would be cherishedfor a long time. He uses the cinematic techniques to bring out the thematiccontent of the film with effectiveness.
The film uses colored scenes only whenthe Jews saved by Schindler come to pay their respects to the grave of OskarSchindler. The entire narrative evokes the emotions of the audience, and makesthem ponder about the film even long after having finished watching thenarrative.IV. Depiction offactsOne can refer toAlain Resnais’ cinematic work, Night andFog that depicts the horrors of the holocaust. This seminal documentaryfilm portrays the picture of the concentration camps in front of the avidaudience.
Also, this cinematic work uses real footage to show the physicalcondition of the Jews during the time of their captivity in the camps. Now, onecan understand that the facts that are shown in this documentary film areechoed in the fictional representation in the contextual film by Spielberg. Also,the story of Oskar Schindler is a real one, and the film should be credited forrepresenting true occurrences on the screen with utmost prowess and accuracy. Assuch, it goes beyond any doubt that this film by Spielberg can be considered avalid socio-historic commentary and representation that brings a verysignificant chapter of the holocaust on the large screen. V. Conclusion It would becorrect to end by saying that the film has remained very popular even after somany years of its initial theatrical release owing to the cinematic geniusexuded by the filmmaker. The content stirs the audience to the innermost coreof their hearts, and the film uses the best techniques to bring life to thevarious characters.
What resonates in the minds of the audience is the messageof hope that transcends the challenges that thwart the lives and wellbeing ofcommon people in times of war. Oskar Schindler rises above all with hischaracter development as an epitomic figure of hope and resolution. He bravesall the odds to save the innocent lives that could have been taken otherwise.
Thefilm is a tribute to the great deeds of Schindler. The cinematic work hasattained timeless appeal and universal acclaim. In a world of pain andhaplessness, Spielberg brings out the need and importance of hope for treadingon the path of life.