As such, one finds the image of this deserted streetthat is littered with so many suitcases of all the Jewish people who have beentaken away by the Nazi soldiers. There is another scene that highlights thefacial expression of this captive Jewish jeweler who is given a handful ofteeth to be mined for fillings.
In the later part of the film, the directorshows a snowy sky that is in fact the raining ashes coming from the massexhumation of the Jews in one of the concentration camps. In another instancethe director shows the immense panic of his Jewish prisoner who is not able tofind his identity papers as an armed ill-tempered soldier screams at him(Spielberg n.p.
). Among so many stirring scenes, the audience would surelyremember some for a long time as they evoke the emotions of empathy. Thedepiction of the pain and suffering of the innumerable Jews in theconcentration camps being tortured by the sheer inhumanity of the Nazi soldiersleaves a lasting impression on the minds for sure. There canbe no denial that the film exudes the excellent cinematographic work that cancommunicate with the audience with utmost effectiveness as well as catapult theaffective charm of the cinematic text. 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-heartedSS commandant.
Oskar shows no sign of empathy toward the fate of the thousandsof Jews toward the first part of the film, and is only bent on making profitfor himself through his business. Thecharacter of Goeth is played with excellence by Ralph Fiennes. The performancesof Fiennes and Neeson are only massively complimented by the acting prowess ofBen Kingsley who portrays the character of Stern who is rather reserved andwary as a person. A Jew himself, Stern is the business manager of Schindlerwhom the business trusts whole-heartedly.
Spielberg shows his quintessencethrough the characterization in the film that makes way for the generalizedpicture of the haplessness of thousands of Jewish prisoners. There is a scenein the film where Oskar and his girlfriend witness the evacuation of the ghettofrom a hilltop when the imagery of this little girl in red makes Oskarcomprehend the horror of the actions by the Nazi army. Later in the film,Schindler gets briefly arrested for kissing a Jewish female during a party.While kissing females is a common practice for the central character, he isastonished to know that kissing a Jew is forbidden on grounds of racialdisparity.
At this juncture, he finally comes to comprehend how irrational andmurderous the world has come to be in the wartime. He finally intervenes tosave the lives of Jews. It needsto be reckoned that the tension in the entire narrative of the cinematic workcomes from the omniscient threat of violence. Nonetheless, the stalwartdirector goes on to portray the looming ambiance of bloodshed, violence anddeath in relatively fewer scenes. In the scenes that depict murderous acts, theaudience sees how Goeth acts as a sniper as he casually aims at the prisonswith this high-powered rifle and kills them. Spielberg brings out the sheerobjectivity and inhumanity that encompasses the acts of killing the Jews inthis film. There are no scenes that show how the masses are pushed inside thegas chamber, but the audience knows that death is the inevitability thatthreatens the lives of thousands of Jews, while Schindler becomes desperate insaving as many Jewish lives as possible.
The actions are shown in the linearnarrative, while space and time are compressed in the course of the filmictext. 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, thebackground score composed by John Williams constitutes the soul of the film asthe music sets up the somber mood. The violin solos leaves a lasting impressionon the audience 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. Indeed,it would be apt to say that the portrayal of the holocaust makes the audienceunderstand the utter inhuman nature of genocide. Moreover, the filmic textexposes the horrors of war and the severe impact on the lives of innocentpeople that is represented through the haplessness of the Jews who are takencaptive by the Nazis. The film shows how the happy families of thousands ofJews are left to perish as the Nazis exercise their unending cruelty on theinnocent lives. People get killed indiscriminately, while Oskar is only able tosave eleven hundred Jews with all his riches and untiring efforts.
Sternrightly says toward the end of the narrative that Oskar has done enough to savethe Jews, but Oskar himself is not convinced as he breaks down saying that hecould have saved about a dozen more people with his car and gold pin. Theaudience can understand how the ring made by the Jews becomes invaluable tothis man who once valued nothing else but money. While the film portrays thegradual change of Oskar into a selfless man endeavoring to save Jewish lives,it also propagates the message of humanity and goodness. Placed injuxtaposition to the sheer haplessness of the Jews, Oskar’s act of humanity makeshim a figure worth apotheosis as he proves to have the sense of morality andconscience without getting influenced by the encompassing brutality of theNazis toward the Jews. The filmportrays how the world is construed differently by various people. While OskarSchindler transforms from being a materialist to a humanist, the Jewsunderstand the horrors of war like no one else, and value their lives more thananything else.
On the other hand, the Nazis can be found to be inhuman in theirapproach toward the Jews as they segregate them, torture them, and finally aimto exterminate all of them. Portraying the horrors encompassing the holocaust,the film explores the traits of basic human nature through the character ofOskar whose transformation of perspective is the main theme of the filmic text.The director shows how humanity and conscience can find its way amidst thegoriness of violence and inhumanity of the concentration camps. While therehave been many fictional films based on the holocaust, this cinematic endeavorstands out owing to the artistic excellence of Spielberg and his stirringportraiture of a true occurrence on the screen. The film is a fictionalrepresentation of history that could have otherwise been forgotten amidst thesurmounting horror of the holocaust. OskarSchindler’s act of humanity comes at the cost of losing all his riches. But, itbecomes evident that he does not care about having money any more.
Theholocaust and the ghastly terror of the Nazi forces helps bring out the humanecharacteristics of this man who was one know to be an uncompromisingbusinessman. The emancipation of the eleven hundred Jews would have made wayfor the later generations to carry forward the legacy of Oskar Schindler, whilethe film expresses how these Jews later came to be known as Schindler Jews. Whilethe entire historic episode of the holocaust and the omnipotence of the Nazisprior to the defeat in the Second World War is characterized by bloodshed,extremism and inhumanity, Oskar can be taken to be the epitomic figure ofhumanity and goodness. Spielberg also delivers the message of omnipotence ofhuman emotions that goes on to undermine the value of materialistic pleasuresand riches, thereby passing a latent commentary about the correct way of life. The filmalso critiques through the transformation of Oskar Schindler the social ills ofracial discrimination and prejudice that can thwart the wellbeing of a sectionof the society made to be on the receiving end of systematic violence.
The filmhas gained immortality in the memory of the audience, and is still extremelyrelevant as a social document that explores the history of the holocaust duringthe Second World War. The thematic content deals with issues of religiousfanaticism of the Nazi ideology, subordination of the Jews, and violence metedout to the innocent people of the society. The film can very well be describedto be one of the very best cinematic works by Spielberg, and the same endeavorwas also acknowledged at the Academy Awards. Oskar’s character and hisinterpersonal tie with Stern remain with the audience for a long time, whilethe filmic text also shows the retributive actions faced by the German soldiersafter their defeat in the war. The film is highly relevant even in the presenttimes of the society owing to the portrayal of genocide and search forhumanity.