Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A film that grabs and strangles your Emotions

by Marciano Paroy Jr.

Recently, I got hold of a DVD copy of the modern classic “Schindler’s List” – that masterpiece directed by Stephen Spielberg which hit theaters in 1993, and ran away with most of the awards in almost all major award-giving bodies in film the following year, especially the Academy Awards or Oscars in the USA.

When I watched it inside the movie theater back in 1993, while a college student in UE, I remember feeling that it was a painful film to watch – and I found out when I watched it all over again that the film has not lost its ability to disturb a viewer. The film grabs you by the throat so that any feeling of being aghast is contained – and you hold on to that feeling up to the very last scene.

Indeed, sitting through the long feature film is an agonizing experience. One has to be ready for the influx of mixed emotions, chief of which – if one values human life – is one’s loathing of anyone who takes it upon himself to degrade other human beings, to relegate them to lower forms of creations, to snuff out their lives with just a trivial pull at the trigger.

“Schindler’s List,” though most would consider it as Spielberg’s almost vengeful take on the Nazi’s experimentation with what they call “The Final Solution” regarding “the Jew problem,” is also a plain recounting of what the surviving Jews went through during World War II. In plain black and white – thus giving the viewer the sense of honesty and purity of intent on the part of the film-makers – “Schindler’s List never lets us forget that something as horrible as mass extermination of a nation can really be possible, and that a well-carried-out plan can attain its objectives, even in such large-scale terms. Then through it all, one never lets go of the question “How can such a thing happen?” and so the movie never lets us forget the horrors inflicted upon the Jewish people.

Sitting through the film anew, I felt glad that I never lost the ability to care, to value human life, to love humanity – and, conversely, to detest those who play God. So I cried my heart out. Again.

“Schindler’s List” is not your normal choice of a weekend movie to insert through your DVD player slot. First, as I have noted earlier, it was shot in black and white (with only that interesting fleeting scene of a Jewish girl trying to escape – wearing a red coat). Second, it is very long. Third, if your chief intent in watching a film is to laugh, then “Schindler’s List” is not at all for you.

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