Schindler's List Film Techniques Essay

Great Essays
Film is a unique form of media that allows the audience to experience worlds that—otherwise—would not exist. The incorporation of visual imaging further strengthens the nature of storytelling and offers insight into human imagination. Directors Claude Lanzmann and Steven Spielberg exemplify such qualities in Shoah, a documentary about Holocaust witnesses, and Schindler’s List, a historical drama about a Nazi officer and his transition to hero. Both films offer perspective into life during and after extreme genocide through use of themes, portrayal of characters and interviewers, and various film techniques. In Shoah, Lanzmann presents themes of witnessing, guilt, interrogation, and importance of detail. Rather than focusing on profound, thought-provoking …show more content…
However, this technique is very effective because it breaks down those being interviewed—it makes them vulnerable. In terms of witnessing, Lanzmann presents voice from people that saw, understood, and comprehended what was happening. They were real-life people who know that the Holocaust happened. They were there, and they are present to inform the audience that genocide occurred amidst our time. Thus, Lanzmann offers hope through the ability of story-telling: the ability for one generation to tell future generations what it has learned. This is a film about witnessing (and the pain of it). It offers a return of the voice—being able to see, then witness. In contrast, Spielberg’s Schindler’s List presents the theme of triumph through the human spirit. In the face of evil, Jews demonstrate determination and an unbroken spirit. For example, the couple that falls in love and decides to get married in Palszow has virtually no future to look forward to; however, they marry in hopes of surviving. They even manage to stay true to ceremonial Jewish traditions, which symbolizes hope for the survival of the Jewish race. In addition, …show more content…
It does not contain images from the 1940’s (newsreel shots, interviews with death camp survivors, or war crime trial coverage); instead, it is photographed by the same man—Lanzmann—over a five to six-year span. He uses the faces of his witnesses and intercuts their testimony with tranquil, pastoral scenes where death occurred, such as the train tracks where steam engines took Jews, Poles, and more. Other times, the image is of people gathered in a doorway, church, or kitchen. Lanzmann film (and dress) style is very casual, but his methods are occasionally underhanded. For example, he uses hidden cameras on Nazi officials that refuse to have their identities revealed. At one point, the Nazi asks for confirmation that the interview is private, and Lanzmann assures him. This proves that he will go to any length to obtain honest and true testimony. Organizationally, the material is not chronological, but arranged in a more poetic way that appeals to Lanzmann himself. This, in addition to the mild language barrier—meanings are often lost in translation, leaves the audience to think, wonder, and digest such heavy information. On the other hand, Schindler’s List is filmed in black and white. This effectively evokes a World War II vibe that deepens the meaning of the story. (Sparing) use of color thus signals a shift in time or suggest a key scene, like the girl in the red coat. In addition, black and white

Related Documents

  • Great Essays

    Shoah Film Analysis

    • 1649 Words
    • 7 Pages

    His aim was to blur the lines between he past and present and show the Holocaust as an event that has just occurred right at the moment of the victim’s narratives. He wanted the idea that something atrocious has just happened just now to resonate with the viewers. It gives it a very fresh quality that has not been achieved by any other Holocaust film. The problem with Lanzmann's approach, however, is his aggressive approach. Such a sensitive issue should be handled delicately as the memories of the Holocaust are hard to deal with and the aggression in the way he approaches some of the victims in “forcing” them to recall horrendous events is off-putting as was the in case of Jan Karski.…

    • 1649 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    With the Beast’s constant rage and undermining abuse towards Belle in the beginning, the connection between what I thought was a beautiful love story and the perspective of domestic violence seemed to intertwine and my views about the film changed because of it. Filmmakers use rhetoric to create a more complex and broad story so that critics can find outliers of the film and make assumptions of the filmmaker’s rhetorical choices. Olson says [about Beauty and the Beast (1991)] that “the film’s combination of sophisticated rhetorical strategies might cultivate a romanticized understanding of and…

    • 1272 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    As Anne Frank once said,”In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart” can talk to all of us as a whole. During the Holocaust from 1933 to 1945, many were affected emotionally and physically in some cases. Literature can help us remember and honor the victims of the Holocaust because accounts of diary’s, newsletters and stories that tell the events based upon eyewitness accounts help us realize what happened during the time of the Holocaust. Remembering the past also helps us see points of views from both sides, allowing us to make a judgement on what happened, what caused the event, and why it affected the people and how. Many of the things that had happened brought a harsh time on others.…

    • 610 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Decent Essays

    She begins by talking about the background of the Holocaust itself and she commends Steven Spielberg for doing a great job at portraying such a controversial topic like the Holocaust. Afterwards, she makes the point of how much of a dark tale Schindler's List is, which is to be expected with such a topic. She writes how the film's plot is a story of triumph over evil and how the main strength of the film is in its pragmatism. She writes how the use of unfamiliar actors and versatile black-and-white cinematography can draw the audience into the film. She writes how well Oskar Schindler is presented as well as how the other actors perform throughout the film.…

    • 854 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Improved Essays

    She goes on to explain how sometimes, especially in the modern age, it is difficult to find oneself not feeling hopeless; however, she counters this by explaining how people can maintain hope in the darkest of times, specifically citing the action of Robert Desnos prior to the scheduled gas chamber execution of him and several others in a Holocaust concentration camp. She uses his creative and successful approach of optimistically reading the palms of those scheduled to die in order to illustrate how imaginative thinking can dramatically alter one’s circumstances and the circumstances of the world at large. She also makes sure to emphasize that imagination is a positive, so long as it is not the type of imagination where one loses touch with reality and attempts to separate themselves from their circumstances as opposed to improving them. (To Love a…

    • 880 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He makes me cry” (Zusak, 531). By displaying acts of grief, consolation, and sympathy, Death proves to be more humane than previously thought. The Book Thief proposes a different take on the telling of the Holocaust. With a narrator like Death, and a German protagonist, the book successfully gives the audience insight on the evolution of Nazism, and the assurance that not all Germans were as cruel as their countrymen. By using descriptive imagery and intriguing foreshadow, Zusak is capable of creating a relationship between the novel’s audience and a narrator that they never thought they would want to hear more…

    • 715 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Night Wiesel Analysis

    • 909 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The Holocaust was a terrible event in history and is nothing short of what the book describes. Because of this, the book evokes emotion from its reader and makes more realistic. I would definitely recommend this book because it is important to realize what happened during the Holocaust. In conclusion, Eliezer Wiesel’s main goal in writing this memoir is to remind the reader of the atrocities of the Holocaust and the extent of mankind’s cruelty. Wiesel does a great job of keeping focus throughout the book by explaining his experiences in evocative…

    • 909 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The themes of the story are dehumanization, not forgetting or repeating what’s happened and showing the horrible conditions the Jews survived. Forgetting makes us just as guilty as the Germans. Imagine if you helped the Holocaust happen and did the terrible things to others, you’re doing that by forgetting and not telling others, because if it happened once what stops it from happening again? What helps it not happen again is us remembering. Elie Wiesel has helped newer generations just by sharing his story, which must not be easy but he does it.…

    • 790 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    “The Book Thief” has broadened my understanding of the way that historical fiction can be used to create a sense of realism to historical events, notably through Mark Zusak’s creation of realistic characters that effectively portray what it was like to live in Nazi Germany during the second World War. This has been achieved through Mark Zusak’s successful incorporation of various literary techniques throughout the book. A number of these literary devices will be elaborated in this essay. One of the more striking techniques employed by Mark Zusak in “The Book Thief” is personification where he effectively uses Death as the narrator of the book, and creates a Humanised concept of Death. Death has been uniquely personified to display human emotions,…

    • 1072 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    It is human nature to seek answers to the overarching questions of morality and the cause of evil in our world. Unfortunately there are no answers to such questions, only plausible explanations and conjectures. In If this is A Man, Primo Levi posed questions and issues, such as whether morality is absolute or dynamic based on a person’s circumstances. Levi knew that these questions were unanswerable and so chose not to frivolously attempt to provide definite explanations. Instead, Levi deliberately illustrated the events of the Nazi death camp, the Lager, and the reactions of the Jews to such conditions thereby validating an innumerable amount of conclusions to the issues he presented.…

    • 1371 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays