Friday, June 29, 2012

Schindler's List

Schindler's List DVD (Universal's 100th Anniversary)

#9 (1998) and #8 (2007) in the AFI Top 100 Movies Lists

Schindler's List is a 1993 American film about Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. The film was directed by Steven Spielberg, and based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Australian novelist Thomas Keneally. It stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as Schutzstaffel (SS)-officer Amon Göth, and Ben Kingsley as Schindler's Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern.

The film was a box office success and recipient of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Score, as well as numerous other awards (7 BAFTAs, 3 Golden Globes). In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked the film 8th on its list of the 100 best American films of all time (up one position from its 9th place listing on the 1998 list).

* Liam Neeson – Oskar Schindler, a German Nazi businessman who saves the lives of over 1,100 Jews by employing them in his factory.
* Ben Kingsley – Itzhak Stern, Schindler's accountant and business partner.
* Ralph Fiennes – Amon Goeth, the main antagonist in the film; Goeth is an SS officer assigned to build and run the Płaszów concentration camp, and is befriended by Schindler, though he grows steadily suspicious of Schindler's true aims as the film progresses.
* Embeth Davidtz – Helen Hirsch, a young Jewish woman whom Goeth takes to work as his housekeeper, and finds attractive.
* Caroline Goodall – Emilie Schindler, Schindler's wife.
* Jonathan Sagall – Poldek Pfefferberg, a young man who survives with his wife, and provides goods to Schindler from the black market.
* Ezra Dagan – Rabbi Lewartow, a rabbi who acquires skills as a welder in Schindler's camp.
* Malgoscha Gebel – Wiktoria Klonowska, Schindler's mistress.
* Shmuel Levy – Wilek Chilowicz.
* Mark Ivanir – Marcel Goldberg.
* Béatrice Macola – Ingrid.
* Andrzej Seweryn – Julian Scherner.
* Friedrich von Thun – Rolf Czurda.
* Krzysztof Luft – Herman Toffel.
* Harry Nehring – Leo John.
* Norbert Weisser – Albert Hujar.
* Adi Nitzan – Mila Pfefferberg, Poldek Pfefferberg's wife.
* Michael Schneider – Juda Dresner.
* Miri Fabian – Chaja Dresner.
* Anna Mucha – Danka Dresner.
* Ben Darby – Man in grey.
* Albert Misak – Mordecai Wulkan.
* Hans-Michael Rehberg – Rudolf Höss.
* Daniel Del Ponte – Dr. Josef Mengele.

Although the film is primarily shot in black-and-white, red is used to distinguish a little girl in a coat. Later in the film, the girl is seen among the dead, recognizable only by the red coat she is still wearing. Although it was unintentional, this character is coincidentally very similar to Roma Ligocka, who was known in the Kraków Ghetto for her red coat. Ligocka, unlike her fictional counterpart, survived the Holocaust. After the film was released, she wrote and published her own story, The Girl in the Red Coat: A Memoir (2002, in translation). The scene, however, was constructed on the memories of Zelig Burkhut, survivor of Plaszow (and other work camps). When interviewed by Spielberg before the film was made, Burkhut told of a young girl wearing a pink coat, no older than four, who was shot by a Nazi officer right before his eyes. When being interviewed by The Courier-Mail, he said "it is something that stays with you forever."

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