Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Schindler's List (1993)

In the fall of 2009, I saw Schindler’s List frame by frame over the course of two days. Having avoided the film for a very long time (I had a copy for 8 years without watching even a single scene), I was finally pushed to see it by a film professor at my university as the subject of an analytical paper.

The topic of my thesis was the recurrence of the “lists” in the film, and their significance to the story as a whole. While I will not use this medium to broadcast my 12 page long essay, I will say that watching this film in slow motion with the ability to pause only makes the story easier to swallow.

Spielberg worked very hard to get this film made; at one point not wanting to direct it because he didn’t think he could do justice to the material. And the film studio system of “one for us, one for you” (make one blockbuster film for us, and we’ll give you a fraction of that film’s budget to make a small movie we have no expectation to make money from) finally accomplished a win-win situation for both the studio and Spielberg: he made Jurassic Park for them (made $920 Million in the summer of 1993) and they let him make Schindler’s List ($321 Million in december 1993). 

When films like these do commercially well (sadly Schindler’s List is the only one that comes to mind), it makes you not lose faith in the intellectual depth of the audience.

Greatness Elements: The girl in the red coat, the letter at the end - the last list to save the man who saved them, and everything else as well.

Favorite Scene:

I have never been fooled by the celluloid and fictional nature of films to break, but the intangible and unimaginable power in this sequence would make any person feel inadequate about their accomplishments.

Warning: Since this is a true story, this isn’t really a spoiler, but if you haven’t seen the film I’d advice you to watch the film from the beginning to be properly blown away by this sequence.

(I couldn’t find the entire sequence in one video, so here it is in two parts with some overlap)


“Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”

Author’s Note: If you’ve read the LOTR post, you will see what I meant by “Power can only be earned.” For the Schindler in this sequence, power is respect; given by one human being to another. And even the weight from the power in this one small ring is too heavy for Schindler. This scene is the most moving scene in the history of film - no competition whatsoever.


  1. Thanks for the review, lakshya! This one's been on my to-watch list for a long time now!

  2. This has to be one of the most powerful holocaust stories ever told through cinema. Heck, it is the most powerful holocaust movie ever. Great review. And I must say, I would really love to understand the significance of lists in the movie since, I obviously didn't watch it with any academic view whatsoever.


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