The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Eleven years later: Spielberg and ‘Schindler’s List’ honored on DVD

Schindler’s List is an important movie. It’snot important because it won seven Academy Awards, or becauseit’s a Steven Spielberg movie. It’s important becauseit has come to define a dark period in our world’s historythat claimed the lives of 65 million people. Schindler’s Listhas become the one Hollywood movie we think about when we thinkabout the Holocaust. And now, eleven years after its theatricalrelease, Schindler’s List has finally been released onDVD.

The film, which was adapted from the novel by Thomas Keneally,tells the story of German war profiteer Oskar Schindler (LiamNeeson), who moves to Warsaw to make his fortune during World WarII. He begins the movie interested only in making money byemploying Jews from the ghetto to work in his factory. But as hewitnesses the atrocities committed by the Nazi government againstthe Jews, he and his Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley)strive to employ as many Jews as they can to save them from tormentand eventual death in Nazi concentration camps. Ralph Fiennes playsthe coldly inhuman concentration camp director Amon Goeth, withwhom Schindler must do business. It is a strange twist of ironythat, in order to save Jewish lives, Schindler must workhand-in-hand with a man who shoots Jews from his balcony as part ofhis morning routine.

Schindler’s List also portrays the liquidation ofthe Warsaw ghetto, an event that is often overlooked today,overshadowed by the German death camps in Auschwitz and Dachau.Spielberg expanded the original one page scene to 20 minutes ofhorrifying brutality. In the end, however, the movie is not aboutthe Holocaust, or even about Schindler. It’s about the listitself, the list of Jewish men and women who Schindler saved. It istheir story that Spielberg wants us to understand and to remember.Spielberg invested himself so deeply in the movie that he refused asalary, saying that it would be “blood money.”

Along with the movie, the DVD contains two special featuredocumentaries. One, The Shoah Foundation Story with StevenSpielberg, presents a look at the foundation created bySpielberg while filming Schindler’s List. Spielberg was somoved and inspired by the survivors he met during filming that heinitiated a project of global proportions to collect and archivevideotaped interviews with Holocaust survivors. In a span of sixyears, the archive has assembled interviews with almost 52,000survivors from 56 countries, in 32 languages. These interviews areintegrated into “Giving Voice,” a reality-based programaimed at high schools as part of the Shoah Foundation’smission to “overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry— and the suffering they cause — through theeducational use of the Foundation’s visual historytestimonies.”

The second special feature is a 77-minute documentary calledVoices From The List, which features the story of the realOskar Schindler, as told by the men and women he saved. Thedocumentary is not narrated by a disembodied voice, but by thesurvivors themselves, as they describe life during the rise ofHitler, life in the ghetto, and the horrors that followed.It’s a very profound, very insightful look at the real peoplewhose lives inspired Schindler’s List.

A special Collector’s Gift Set of Schindler’sList is also available, featuring a collectible Plexiglas caseand a whole mess of goodies. The set includes a book,Schindler’s List: Images of the Steven Spielberg Film,with photographs by David James, the John Williams-composed moviesoundtrack, a special widescreen presentation of the movie, and alimited-edition senitype. This special set should run about $80,which should only attract the particularly devotedSchindler’s List or Steven Spielberg fan.

Collector’s Gift Set aside, Schindler’s Listis one of the most emotional, deeply moving films of the lastdecade. It has been and will most likely continue to be a pinnacleof cinema. Such a movie deserves a dignified DVD release andSchindler’s List has received one. You won’tfind any half-baked deleted scenes or gag reels on this DVD. Everyounce of this disc is dedicated to the idea of Schindler’sList and the Shoah Foundation. It is a DVD not meant forentertainment, but for enlightenment.

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