Monday, April 24, 2017
Brandon's #84: Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
Jeff brought it to my attention that there are a sect of people who think this movie is too upbeat. I've never been shy about questioning the motivations behind pack verdicts. I think the stigma surrounding both the director and the best pic win play a larger roll. Some of us prefer the underdogs. But assuming some truly penalize this for being too existentially soft, I submit the scene when the women, recently purchased and thus saved from Auschwitz, are separated from their children. Schindler swoops in and offers some bogus excuse regarding the size of their hands and cleaning artillery shells. They are saved. They board the train and it departs, but Spielberg lingers on the people entering the death camp, people that Schindler was given the chance to save instead. It's a Bunuelian moment, one poor creature saved whilst one is led cruelly to its doom.
It's not that I give a shit if the populist iconoclast interjects enough pessimism and gloom to the proceedings (though he does). He's crafted an exquisite document of the best and worst of humanity.
I know its problems, like all of the director's films there is an impulse to skew facts, lighten the overall load, rectify the ugliness. I don't ask for perfection. I accept his optimism. The greatness outweighs the slag.
At the end of the day, this is a film about survival, the moral burden of survival. It's about the wounds that probably won't heal. I find it very moving and that's enough.