Films are a means of entertainment, a way through which one can travel through a different time and space. But is it always a realistic trip? Can we trust the images that we see in a historical film and take them in as a fact, something that actually happened?
By: Chrysa Simoni
Schindler’s list is an award winning film by Steven Spielberg made in 1993. It revolves around the Holocaust and the general situation in Poland after the Second World War. Spielberg is one of the most influential directors and has covered many genres; being mostly well known for his science fiction works, he started addressing other humanistic, historical issues such as the Holocaust later in his career. So knowing the director’s background, that his filmography is mainly science fiction, one can think that historical value may not be applied before even watching the actual film.
It can be said and realized that the film approaches the audience in an emotional way and has a purpose of moving them, appreciate their life and stop taking the situation that they live in for granted. So the emotional, non-documentary like perception that it offers the audience reduces its historical value.
Oskar Schindler, the historical figure who is the main character as well, was German and a member of the Nazi party. Despite the fact that he was a Nazi, he was clearly against the Holocaust and was so dedicated in saving as many Jewish people that were under threat as possible. His heroic stance is clearly shown in the film. He saved 1,200 people by creating a factory and giving them jobs, his will and dedication towards the Jewish population as shown in the film, is extraordinary. However, the fact that it focuses on a particular person’s perspective, (Oskar Schindler’s) limits the historical value as well, as we do not observe the situation in an objective way.
Concerning the place that the film mainly takes place; Poland, as we get to know more about what happened there and not in other concentration camps where the situation might be slightly different.
Despite the above, the main purpose of a film is to entertain, not to educate. Thus, one should turn to books and documentaries for a non-biased and totally objective opinion. However, if you want to have a general idea about the Holocaust, without exact facts, Schindler’s list is considered a must-watch. It is a very touching and symbolic film that aims to make you think deeply and appreciate life as it is.
Having studied History extensively and being interested in the subject of the Holocaust, as it is something that really interests me and moves me as a person, I have some other film suggestions based on it. After watching Schindler’s List you can go on and watch Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni, The Pianist by Roman Polanski and Sophie’s Choice, by Alan J. Pakula.