At the prompting of erstwhile contributor and personal voice of reason Elizabeth Ditty, I’ve decided that instead of using twitlonger to do my medium length reactions to films post-viewing on twitter, I could use the blog and maybe help funnel discussion that way. So these are very off-the-cuff reactions, usually rattled off immediately post-viewing.
SCHINDLER’S LIST: a short(ish) bit to talk about. Certainly its an affecting film, incredibly well shot and acted for the most part, about a dark period in human history and a man put in an impossible position. I’m not denying that, nor am I denying the appropriate gravity with how Spielberg portrayed the life of the Jews in Nazi Germany.
That said, the thing I most took issue with was the portrayal of the Nazis themselves. Outside of Schindler, they are to a man either stoic grunts, wild thugs, or in the case of Ralph Fiennes’ character outright psychopaths. I think it’s an easy out to an important aspect of humanity. Some, maybe most, of the people who perpetrated the evils of holocaust weren’t these deranged bogeymen. They were people, just like the people who were suffering, who had been tricked or forced or simply bought into this cycle of hate and murder.
I think by taking away that humanity, that sense of how it could have gone another way but didn’t for whatever reason, you take away the importance of a film like this. It’s not to show us the horrors that were committed, but to help ensure that humanity doesn’t repeat the mistakes it has made. People, even decent people, are capable in the right circumstances of great evil, and I’m not sure Spielberg is capable, or even aware, of acknowledging that. That’s all.