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Schindler's List

I have been, and still am, fascinated by how reflection and consideration of historical events can move and change us as people. If one movie could be chosen for the world to see, I would choose Schindler's List. Schindler's List serves as a harrowing reminder of the suffering that can be caused by fear and ignorance. Schindler's List won the Best Picture Award at the 66th Academy Awards for its real life adaption of the effects of the Holocaust in Krakow, Poland during World War II. The film had a profound and powerful affect on me because it depicts the results of the ignorance of facts coupled with fear, hatred, and blame of a specific group of people sharing the same race, nationality, or religion.

The film's brilliant utilization of color, and lack thereof, is used in many ways to characterize and highlight many themes throughout the feature. The use of black and white throughout the majority of the film serves to display the distance of the events taking place from the present and to force the audience to focus on the actions taking place on screen. This is used as opposed to the oversaturation of color which can distract the audience from the impact of the actions and events taking place on screen. This choice to use minimal color was an intentional one as color film was available and widely used in 1993 when the film was being produced. The lack of color is also used to set a somber tone of the events taking place during this dark time in human history as well as highlight good versus evil throughout the film. Oskar Schindler, the main protagonist, is seen in many instances of the film wearing a light colored suit, signifying his good intentions to save as many Jews in Krakow as possible from extermination. This is shown when Oskar Schindler, dressed in white, is spraying water on the Jews on a scorching hot day to quench their thirst while they are loaded onto a train headed towards Auschwitz. In contrast, Amon Goeth is often seen wearing his dark SS Nazi Officer uniform, representing the dark and intolerable actions the Nazis take towards the Jews, such as the numerous inhumane executions he personally performs or orders others to do. This also serves to illustrate the two types of power the men possess. Power gained from the respect of those around you and power gained from the fear of what pain you may inflict upon them, respectively.

One of the major plots throughout the film is watching Oskar Schindler grow from a war profiteer interested only in the slave labor the Jewish community of Krakow can provide him to a moral man who begins working towards saving as many innocent people as possible. This is, in part, due to the interactions Oskar Schindler has with Itzhak Stern, Schindler's accountant, who serves as a voice of reason and serves to persuade Oskar Schindler to use his factory as a safe place for Jews instead of just profiting off of the slave labor and the goods demanded from the war. Schindler embraces his realization of virtue in saving as many Jews as possible when he actively intends to lose money to save as many as possible. To me, this shows that over time humans are able to distinguish that their comfort can come at the cost of the suffering of others, and therefore ultimately isn't worth it.

It is important to me to note and observe such happenings in history so that we, as humans, do not repeat the terrible acts that were performed during World War II. Schindler's List has shown why it is necessary to look upon any act by any world leader or government that may ostracize and isolate a specific group of people by race, religion, or nationality with scrutiny. These acts, coupled with authority, ignorance, and blind hatred, can distort people from something that may seem beneficial for a majority within a nation to something that is unrecognizably cruel and terrible for a segregated minority. Schindler's List should be viewed by everyone because it not only displays the capability for humanity to be cruel and punishing, but also because it displays humanity's capability to not be.

 

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