Schindler’s List.

Schindler’s List.

Visual.

Steven Spielberg

May 2018.

Schindler’s List is about an unlikely hero and one man’s ability to make a monumental impact on hundreds of people’s lives. It celebrates a powerful triumph of humanity that touched my soul. Set in Nazi Germany, the film follows Oskar Schindler, war profiteer and member of the Nazi party through his unexpected transformation in the Second World War, and his mission to save his factory’s Jewish workforce.  Oskar Schindler was by no means a saint, in fact he was a self-serving con-artist whose initial motives were far from honourable. Saving his workforce meant saving his factory, but as the movie progressed the spirit and intentions of Oskar changed.

I enjoyed this movie and would recommend it on a number of counts. It provides emotive insight into Nazi Germany in a way that continually confronted my prejudice towards German citizens. Prior to this movie I had fixed preconceived ideas that all Germans were Nazis and I realised that many people still sub-consciously link modern day Germans with these historical events. The portrayal of a German saviour was a powerful idea that I have never considered before helping de-stigmatise German people in my mind. This message was even more compelling for me considering it is based on a true story.

This movie as a whole and its core theme about the impact individuals can have on the outcome of hundreds helped humanise war and highlighted the fact that there are many different lives within a war zone. In today’s world, where most are lucky enough to never experience war first-hand, war can feel like a far away and nebulous concept.  Now, daily occurrence of ‘new news’ figures no longer fly past my ears as unemotional facts of war. I consider the people within the stories and how their lives are being effected and the choices they are being forced to make in order to survive. I also wondered what I would have done if in Schindler’s shoes, would I have been as brave? Harrowing conditions such as these tests our humanity and illustrates what it takes to be a strong individual who can step up and fight for others during such a dangerous and controversial time.

Conversely it also helped me to better understand how people can submit to following terrible orders and disregard their principles and values, although this concept of conforming to the easiest option unsettles me.  I have witnessed many as I have grown up that just accept this concept, whereas I actively try to be true to my values regardless of the situation. However, given the conditions portrayed in this film, I wondered again would I have been as brave? I believe the director’s intent was to show the transformation of Schindler due to his humanity overwhelming him but also unintentionally illustrating the concept of conforming, only adding to my personal liking and sincere recommendation of this film.

Spielberg’s portrayal of Oskar Schindler also made an impact as Liam Neeson’s award winning performance inspired feelings which had only been briefly explored by other directors’ taking on the Nazi era. The director’s ability to manipulate and completely alter my feeling towards a character through his redeeming acts of humanity startled me. In a war situation, looking from the outside it is easy to demonise a whole race on account of the actions of a small group.  For me, the main intent of the director was to show a personal perspective and illustrate the humanity that humans are capable of.

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