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Surviving Schindler's List

Here is a philosophic account of Schindler's List for Tulane University's Philosophy in Film class.

Rebecca Hunter

on 25 April 2013

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Transcript of Surviving Schindler's List

Prezi by Rebecca Hunter Schindler's List Based off novel by Thomas Keneally Synopsis Directed by Steven Spielberg The film begins with the relocation of the Polish Jews to Krakow in 1939. Oskar Schindler, an opportunist member of the Nazi Party with a reputation for bribing the army and SS officials, acquires a factory for production of army knits and cooking supplies. He is greatly affected by the evacuation. He starts to feel compassion for the Jews when he observes Groth's treatment at the camp. Schindler befriends Groth as means to protect the Jews. 1. Emotive Power The emotive power of Schindler's List is evident in almost every scene. Carroll suggest that emotions from movies defeat the "Paradox of Fiction" through our imagination. The scenes from SL goes beyond imagination because we know they represent events that happened in history. Spielberg uses identification as an emotional way to reach the audience. The audience at first cannot relate to Schindler because he is a bad businessman taking advantage of the Jews. As the story unfolds the audience begins to understand Schindler as his compassion for the Jewish people grows stronger. Identification Another identification that viewers resonate with is the Jewish people. Spielberg draws out scenes when people are suffering because it is easy to let it go if the scene passes by soon. By making each scene linger on the screen longer, the audience can try and identify with the torture and distress of the Jews. In the gas chamber scene the viewer watches the women prepare for the shower and anticipate the dreadful end. When the shower sprays water the viewer feels the catharsis of the women. Novel vs. Director Can we acclaim the fame of the film to Keneally or to Spielberg? Not knowing how to finance and account for a business, Schindler hires Itzhak Stern a member of the Judenrat. Stern suggests that Schindler hire Jews instead of Polish prisoners because they are essentially free labor. By falsifying documents, Stern saves many Jews from concentration camps and death. Amon Groth constructs a labor camp nearby
in Paszow. The SS liquidate the Jewish ghetto
while Schindler watches on a nearby hill. When an order from Berlin comes for the Jews to be exhumed, destroyed, and the rest sent to Auschwitz, Schindler creates his list. He compiles every name he and Stern can come up with to purchase Jews from Groth. The women and children's train gets redirected to Auschwitz where they experience the horror of the gas chamber which luckily is only a traumatic shower. Through many monetary bribes Schindler gets his list to his factory in Moravia. He directs the Nazi officers to not use any force on the Jews and even gives them the Sabbath off. Schindler runs out of money just as the German army surrenders. Schindler must flee from the Soviet Red Army. Stern gives him a letter with every Jews' signature explaining he is not a criminal. Schindler is touched and distraught because he wanted to save more people. The next morning an officer announces the Jews free. 2. Auteur Theory Steven Spielberg falls under the auteur theory because through his interpretation and stylization he delivers a message in the film. The evil and compassion of man are two opposing themes that revolve around the film. Spielberg wanted this on purpose and shows it by not censoring the mutilation and destruction of the Jews. Little compassion could be found at this time in history, but through his character development Schindler becomes compassionate and saves the Jews. In film, the director's interpretation is illustrated in front of you, but in books you come up with your own interpretation through textual description. The director has to be sure of what he puts in front of the viewer. His interpretation can be seen in his stylization. 3. Film as Art 4. Narration 5. Evaluation Evaluation Not all interpretation is from the director. The viewer takes what they want from the film. A good director leaves the audience with an idea or message and the viewer thinks on it after. There are many arguments for why film is not art specifically the Aesthetic Interest Argument. This claims that the scene you are watching is transparent and your actual interest is what is within the scene not the scene itself. In rebuttal, it is not the scene we are concerned with but the way cinematographic medium can express thoughts about objects portrayed. This process can give rise to aesthetic interest in the medium. Spielberg put the entire film in black and white to depict the scenes like they were clips from the past. The medium held historical reference and the viewer begins to feel like they are actual events instead of depictions of reality. Spielberg had one color in the film. The little girl from the evacuation of Krakow had on a red coat. Within the medium of the film, the viewer saw the beauty of the little girl with her coat and identified with the feeling of loss Schindler felt when she was exhumed and burned at Paszow. Schindler's List utilizes closure as an important part of its narration. David Hume points out, "Had you any intention to move a person extremely by the narration of any event, the best method of increasing its effect would be artfully to delay informing him of it, and first to excite his curiosity and impatience before you let him know into the secret". Spielberg does just this when Schindler drives off into the night. After all the viewer has been through and the growth they witnessed they are curious to know where he ends up. Filmmakers "wrap up" things when questions are answered. Closure in the film comes when the audience reads about his pardon. Closure is found in the final scene when the surviving Schindler Jews pay their respects to his grave. In my opinion, Schindler's List was a brilliant film that explored a part of the world's history that many people did not want to relive and especially visualize. It educated the audience on the tragedy that was the persecution of Jews with its emotive power. It told an interesting story of a Nazi that evolved from an evil to a good courageous man within its narration. Classical Theories of evaluation The film was very realistic. It seemed like a recording of the actual historic events. The film seemed realistic because of the stylization. It was shot in all black and white. Its camera angles depicted true emotions on the faces of the characters and how they reacted to the events that were taking place. Carroll's Approach
for Evaluation The film meets the pluralistic categories theory because it is a drama that is educational and emotional. The films structure follows a specific time line in accordance with historical dates. Spielberg's intention is evident with the classical looming music he plays and the drawn out scenes. Also, the film falls within cultural content because the costumes and sets were all historically accurate. This is especially shown when the bribe baskets are set up because you seen items that were black marketed at the time. My evaluation for Schindler's List being a great film can be justified through its seven Oscars! The End
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