I remember hearing the movie title way back 1993; I was in my second grade back then. I heard numerous controversies about the movie though I did not really comprehend them at all. And May this year, I was browsing for some movies to download when I remembered Schindler’s List. I did not know what were the controversies about but this made me become more excited to watch the movie. And so I did. This is an extremely long movie but tremendously beautiful. Here’s its plot...
The film begins in 1939 with the German-initiated relocation of Polish Jews from surrounding areas to the Kraków Ghetto shortly after the beginning of World War II. Meanwhile, Oskar Schindler, an ethnic German businessman from Moravia, arrives in the city in hopes of making his fortune as a war profiteer. Sponsored by the military, Schindler acquires a factory for the production of army mess kits. Not knowing much about how to properly run such an enterprise, he gains a close collaborator in Itzhak Stern, an official of Krakow's Judenrat (Jewish Council) who has contacts with the Jewish business community and the black marketers inside the Ghetto. The Jewish businessmen lend Schindler the money for the factory in return for a small share of products produced.
SS Captain (Hauptsturmführer) Amon Göth arrives in Kraków to initiate construction of the new Płaszów concentration camp. He orders liquidation of part of the ghetto and Operation Reinhard in Kraków begins, with hundreds of troops emptying the cramped rooms and murdering anyone who protests or appears uncooperative, elderly or infirm. In all cases, the killings are shown to be arbitrary and Schindler, watching the massacre from the hills overlooking the area with his mistress, is profoundly affected. He nevertheless is careful to befriend Göth and, through Stern's attention to bribery, Schindler continues to enjoy SS support and protection. During this time, Schindler bribes Göth into allowing him to build a sub-camp for his workers. Originally, his intentions are to continue making money but, as time passes, he begins ordering Stern to save as many lives as possible.
At first, Schindler prepares to leave Kraków with his ill-gotten fortune. He finds himself unable to do so, however, and prevails upon Göth to allow him to keep his workers so that he can move them to a factory in his old home of Zwittau-Brinnlitz, in Moravia away from the Final Solution, now fully underway in occupied Poland. Göth eventually acquiesces, but charges a massive bribe for each worker.
As a Nazi Party member and a self-described "profiteer of slave labor", in 1945, Schindler must flee the advancing Red Army. Although the SS guards have been ordered to liquidate the Jews of Brinnlitz, Schindler persuades them to return to their families as men, not murderers. In the aftermath, he packs a car in the night and bids farewell to his workers. They give him a letter explaining he is not a criminal to them, together with a ring secretly made from a worker's gold dental bridge and engraved with a Talmudic quotation, "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire." Schindler is touched but deeply ashamed, feeling he could have done more to save many more lives. Weeping, he considers how many more lives he could have saved as he leaves with his wife during the night.
After a few scenes depicting post-war events and locations, such as the execution of Amon Göth for war crimes and a brief summary of what eventually happened to Schindler in his later years, the film returns to the Jews walking to the nearby town. As they walk abreast, the black and white frame changes to one in color of present-day Schindler Jews at Schindler's gravesite in Jerusalem (where he wanted to be interred). The film ends by showing a procession of now-elderly Jews who worked in Schindler's factory, each of whom reverently sets a stone on his grave - a traditional Jewish custom denoting deep gratitude or thanks to the deceased. The audience learns that, at the time of the film's release, there were fewer than 4,000 Jews left alive in Poland, but more than 6,000 descendants of the Schindler Jews throughout the world. In the final scene, Liam Neeson (although his face is not visible) places a pair of roses on the grave and stands contemplatively over it.
The film concludes with a statement, "In memory of the more than six million Jews murdered"; the closing credits begin with a view of a road paved with headstones culled from Jewish cemeteries during the war, before fading to black.
Schindler’s List is historical, set from the beginning of World War II until the end of the German Reich regime. Such is an excellent backdrop for an intensely emotional, nostalgic, and reality-based movie.
I think what makes the movie beautiful is its contradictories, the main character Oskar Schindler being turned from an exploitive German to a hero for numerous Jews. It is funny how his wealth earned from forcing Jews to work in his industries was used to save them from being gassed to death. Oskar had to deal with conflicting emotions – his loyalty to Germany, his honesty, his unknown compassion for humanity, and his selflessness. He was unbelievably loved by the Jews, and I say, he truly deserved.
The movie is brutal but heartrending. There is always a sense of chaos and fear in the movie. Jew were insignificant, Jews were treated inhumanely, and Jews were killed. There were two much bloodshed that thankfully the movie was released in black-and-white. It is very heartbreaking to watch continuous massacre of human lives. In the end, after so much lives wasted, there was justice, there was freedom, and there was redemption.
Schindler’s List is an exciting, intriguing, and wonderful movie from beginning to end. My download has no subtitle, but the movie has effectively conveyed its message. Very educational, and serves not to only entertain bored people. All thumbs up for this movie!