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Schindler’s List is a historically significant movie directed by Steven Spielberg, set in the most horrific period of world history, the Holocaust. Schindler’s List tells the real life story of Oskar Schindler, a man who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews at the time. Looking at the public reaction to it, one might say that Steven Spielberg’s, Schindler’s List is undoubtedly the most successful film about the Holocaust (Classen 77). A large number of survivors rated the film very positively, and under-lined its faithfulness to reality (Classen 80).
The film is fiction and is loosely based on a true story. A fiction Holocaust movie can be a suitable vehicle for such a historical tragedy.
In my personal opinion, a fiction movie is suitable to depict such a devastating event that took place in history. Some events can obviously be dramatized, or even distorted but that is a form of entertainment, based partly on truth. Schindler’s List is portrayed as an honest representation of true events that took place during the Holocaust.
The film showed what life was like in the factories, concentration camps, death camps, and for businessmen at the time. A viewer is shown how badly the Jews were treated in great detail and how awful the living conditions really were. Based on my own knowledge of the Holocaust, I know that many people died from illnesses, starvation, and general suffering just as they did in the film.
A fiction film version of the Holocaust is able to protect viewers from feeling too uncomfortable like a documentary or reading one’s historical accounts would.
I have personally watched several documentaries, read personal accounts, and even visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. It is very hard to watch and see such factual evidence of the Holocaust. It is also very difficult to watch or listen to true documentaries or personal accounts of how millions of people were killed, tortured, and alienated. A fiction movie, although graphic and still very disturbing is a little easier to continue watching while being able to still understand and realize how certain events truly took place. I believe most movie audiences want to be entertained instead of dwelling on the mounds of corpses, the gas chambers, and other realities of the Holocaust narrative. I am not degrading or not acknowledging how important a documentary is though, because factual evidence needs to be viewed as well. If I was studying or researching into intense detail of this horrible event, I would prefer to watch a documentary as opposed to a fiction movie.
Much authenticity was ascribed to Spielberg’s film, as can be seen by the reactions of critics, survivors, and historians (Classen 88). It can be seen in the film that Steven Spielberg’s desire to depict the truth has been realized with extreme effort in order to re-create a historical milieu true to detail, including the accurate placing of props, the styling of the actors, the precise language, and the naming of places (Classen 89). Fictionalizing the Holocaust, in my opinion, can make it seem less important or significant than it really is. It is difficult to see this tragic event taking place and fictionalizing the movie can make it easier to accept and understand without being completely emotionally destroyed and distraught. I believe a fiction film is able to bring the Holocaust to life as well, just as it was in Schindler’s List. Spielberg did a very good job at creating a reasonably reliable representation of the Holocaust.
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