’s Schindler’s List Essay, Research Paper
Schindler’s List is a docudrama by Steven Speilberg that portrays the inhumanity of Hitler’s Germany during the second world war in respect to the devastating treatment of the Jews. This paper will look closely at visual elements in the film and how they develop and relate to the mentality of the Germany during that time. In dealing with such an incomprehensible and complex catastrophe Speilberg carries the reality to the viewer partially through the use of visual elements such as brutal violence, children’s scenes and the Jews being stripped of their being.
Brutal acts of violence and killing are used as scare tactic in order to control the mass numbers of people the Germans enslaved.
? The one armed worker who was killed because in the eyes of the German he was not a person only freak.
First the soldier is leading the man with his empty sleeve mocking him.
As he is being shot in the head the camera shows a shot of all the people shoveling. This shows the people working faster after the shoot is fired in fear of their life.
This associates those shoveling with the executed man inferring that it could be any one of them being shot.
? Rabbi who is on his knees trying to explain why there were not more hinges in his box in an attempt to deter his murder.
The camera is placed under the Rabbi looking up at the German killer and the gun at the head of the Rabbi as he pleads for his life.
There is also a close up of the face of the Rabbi almost in tears. Cringing and pale you can feel the fear of death on his face.
? During the night of the liquidation of the ghetto the scene reflected that of a nightmare as people were hunted and slaughtered. This was done to eliminate those who opposed German enslavory.
All the shots were angled from below (low angle) and the camera was twisted just like the scene.
At one point there was a full shot of the area and the light from the machine guns was the only light visible.
Children are seen as innocent and when victim of crime or abuse it strikes people deep in their soul. There were no limitations to the killing. Anyone who was not a “typical” German was to be eliminated; children included. There was much focus on children in order to simply represent that the tyranny even attacked everyone. Also, people bond quickly to children as they indulge into story’s fact or fiction.
? After the physical the mothers are rejoicing and in this moment of sunlight and relief from the death and suffering the children and being carried away in a caravan of trucks.
You see the mothers run after the trucks but, from the camera in the truck giving the appearance that the mothers are helpless.
There is also a long shot of the truck caravan one sees the children waving and smiling because they are riding in the truck. Their innocent wave and good-byes from their children real inject a fear into the faces of the mothers. The camera on the ground follows the mothers screaming being held back by guards and you see them reach for the children.
? The little girl who escapes the line as the liquidation of the ghetto is in progress.
A far shot of part of the area has the little girl highlighted in red and running away from the lines.
Then you see her hide under the bed and the camera is at floor level with her. You can see her smile as if playing hid and seek and under the bed was her favorite spot to hide.
During the mass burning of the dead bodies a cart of bodies goes by and the red coat the little girl is seen hangs out of the cart.
The camera follows the cart from where the bodies are being exhumed from and as it gets closer it zooms in on the jacket. In one of the piles on the cart you see the red of the sleeve covered in dirt and sot and the cart never stops just push on past the camera. This shows that the girl is not exactly the focus but a symbol the she is one of the many children killed.
The Jews were date raped of their material possessions along with their humanity by the Nazi’s. I say date raped because they did not scream or fight they were very passive as they were being violated.
? They were forced from their wealth and all they had worked for.
The rich couple being evicted from their home and you see the husband taking the prayer off the door and a medium shot of him kissing it. It suggests that all the Jews have are their prayers left to fight the Nazi’s
Schindler takes the apartment and there are the cross cutting between the ex-rich couple entering an apartment with 12 other people. The apartment the couple moves into resembles a dog kennel and Schindler lying on the bed comfortable embracing his newly acquired accommodations. The contrast shows the beginning of the Jews being plundered of everything.
? Then as the train pulls away from the station the camera pans off the train and onto the luggage being carted into a warehouse of sorts and scenes of the dissected luggage. This is a representation of the tearing away at the Jews possessions.
? There are two scenes were the Jews are totally portrayed and animals.
The first is the physical scene where they women and older men have been ordered to strip and run in a square.
The Nazi physicians grade them on their quality as if the are grading an animal simply on its physical strength and stamina.
The camera is in constant motion from high angle wide shoots displaying the entire circuit of runners and judges. To the inspection of people who are too weak to work or are good for experiments. Full shot of the naked skeleton bodies of the elderly or sick. This to show how most of the people in the camp were to become, due to the slave work and the conditions the Nazi’s created.
The second is in Aushwits when they are shaved and stripped down to their naked bodies and herded into the showers like cattle. Again the horror of a the scene is enhanced with the nightmare camera shots with the bent camera and the flashing lights from the naked bodies passing in front of the windows. They were cutting the flood of light creating a flashing effect.
Also, Helena is treated as Amonds pet. Again she is very passive not responding in fear of being killed. He goes down in the basement and like an abused animal Helena body instinctively tenses. As the camera follows Amonds position in the room one can see different angles of Helena’s body and each shot she is stiff as a board and trembling in fear. Almond goes crazy when he is not impressed with his toy and hits her then all you see is the shelf being pushed onto her.
In order for the audience to fully comprehend the inhumanity of the holocaust Spielberg goes to lengths in illustrating the hateful mentality of the Nazi’s towards the Jews. Many of the visual elements were used to helped the audience to see how the passive Jews were tortured and treated as animals being slaughtered. For example the one armed man being shot in the snow by the men at point blank range and they were laughing. After watching this movie I honestly hated the Nazi’s for what they did to the Jews and thinking that they were the only race that should live on this world.