Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Schindler's List

“It’s a very moving movie, I thoroughly enjoyed it, I even copied it on to my system,” declared one of my friends about The Schindler’s List. So, I decided that it’s time I saw it. This Oct 2, 2007, I watched it finally after several years of its makingJ Just thought I should share something about what I felt about this movie and the questions it raised in my mind about human sentiments, the universality of life, pain, man’s thirst for blood shed and violence, the arrogant ideas of hierarchy of class and caste, genocide, etc…

The photography is undeniably great, even for someone like me, who’s completely illiterate about the role visuals play in a movie. The entire movie, except a couple of scenes, is shot in black and white. But, not even once did I feel the need for ‘color.’ I wonder if it was the movie or the visuals that makes the audience fluidly slip into the movie and remain right inside this poignant replay of the utter chaos and break down of human values.

The movie starts with a family of Jews observing the Sabbath…then, suddenly, you see hordes of Jews being treated so mercilessly—they are told to ‘register’ themselves and move to bigger cities. Everyone, including the elderly and the children, are supposed to register. The pain of being pulled out of your homeland and to resettle and be treated like a pack of dogs is so beautifully expressed in the movie. Slowly, the situation changes from bad to worse as Jews are pulled out of their homes and things are flung from roof tops, much to the glee of their German neighbors. Holding their heads in shame and unable to grapple with the threat to life, the Jewish families run out with whatever they could take with them and pack their large suitcases. Their suitcases are conveniently confiscated by the German authorities before the Jewish families are herded into trains taking them to their certain death.

Just as when you think God, has all hell broken loose? Can’t there be a solution? We see Oskar Schindler, a multimillioner and a womanizer entering the fray. The rest of the movie is about how Oskar saves ‘his’ Jews from certain death. He comes up with one excuse or the other to save the life over 1100 Jews. The fine play of emotions and the terse dialogues keep you glued to the movie. The number of Jews that Schindler saved might be just a fraction of the 6 million Jews who were exterminated in the Holocaust. However, this act stands testimony to the power of love in the face of certain death.

It left me wondering about why this whole genocide was committed? Was it because of the ethnic superiority that Hitler poisoned his people about? What happened to the conscience of the German people? Even if the Jews milked the land of all its wealth, did they deserve this? Men, women, children…all treated alike. All gassed and burnt! This was not revenge, it was something else. Why did they harbor so much anger and jealousy about these people that they systematically annihilated them? Have the times changed now? Are things like Gujarat and Iraq a replay of the Holocaust played out in bits and pieces? Can the situation change? If we are in a situation as Oskar Schindler, would we throw stones and spit at our neighbors or stand up for them?

Do let me know, what you think…we can discuss.

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