What to think about while viewing Schindler’s List

The red dress

What to look for while viewing Schindler’s List for the first time

When studying Schindler’s List you need to appreciate the way the film has been constructed and the decisions that Spielberg made as the film’s director. You must also remember that the film is a text like any other Year 12 text in terms of plot, setting, narrative, characterisation, themes etc.

You need to be able to show understanding of how meaning is conveyed and how Spielberg has selected certain techniques in order to enhance dramatic effect and meaning.

Key filmic elements to focus on in Schindler’s List include:

• Black and white photography
• Hand-held camera shots
• Positioning of the viewer by the camera so as to take in a particular perspective
• Juxtaposition of scenes (sequencing/parallel editing)
• Links between scenes eg. fading
• Recurring musical themes and overlays
• Recurring visual images eg. smoke, lists, candles, the girl nullin the red coat.
• Historical representation of events with the aim of authenticity
• Individual vignettes that elicit empathy and horror

“Today is history. Today will be remembered. Years from now the young will ask with wonder about this day. Today is history and you are part of it. Six hundred years ago, when elsewhere they were footing the blame for the Black Death, Casimir the Great – so called – told the Jews they could come to Krakow. They came. They trundled their belongings into the city. They settled. They took hold. They prospered in business, science, education, the arts. With nothing they came and with nothing they flourished. For six centuries there has been a Jewish Krakow. By this evening those six centuries will be a rumor. They never happened. Today is history.”
– Amon Goeth

For Closer Viewing:

• The triumph of the human spirit = endurance
• The power of one – the difference one person can make
• The dangerous ease of denial – dehumanisation
• Hate
• Race and religion
• Good v evil
• Identity and Community

• Lists
• Trains
• Death
• The girl in the red coat
• The road paved with Jewish headstones
• Piles of personal items


Posted by hamest

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