March 28, 2011
Schindler’s List- Humanity
Schindler’s List directed by Stephen Speilberg uses many film techniques to emotionally manipulate the attitude of the viewer. His choice of a universal back-drop for mise en scene of monochrome, with color only appearing in the bookends, the ghetto massacre, and the exhumation and incineration of the murdered Jew’s is brilliant and carries significant impact in the film. Our film opens on a Friday night, a Jewish family lights the candle and begins the sacred prayer to welcome the Sabbath, the candles glowed the beautiful orange and blue tones when the family disappears, the room drops to monochrome, and the candles lose color and emit a white puff of smoke that wafts up to become the steam of a Nazi train that carries 10,000 Jews daily to the ghetto of Krakow.
The use of color, the absence of color, and the wafting smoke are all achieved through camera shots and editing styles. The sound of the Mother and Father reciting the Shabbat prayer, “May the Lord protect and defend you. May He always shield you from shame, may you come to be in Israel a shining name…….Strengthen them O’Lord and keep them from stranger ways, May God grant and bless you long lives, May the Lord protect and defend you and keep you from pain….” A musical score could have been used however the choice of the prayer is far more powerful, pulling ones emotions, especially if they are religious.
Speilberg achieves this powerful scene with montage editing. He shoots the opening scene in the style of cinema verite, French for documentary style, or truth. The setting is natural and custom of traditional Jewish family of the 1940’s. Then it is edited to remove the family, shift the color of the room to monochrome black and white, allowing only the candle flame to remain colored, eventually the flame dying and a waft of sacred white smoke, signifying the end of what was normal,...