Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

Best Picture – Schindler’s List (1993)

Starring Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley & Ralph Fiennes

Rating 10/10

It’s hard to believe that 6 million Jewish people were murdered throughout Adolf Hitler’s reign. It’s simply inconceivable. Men, women and children gassed and shot. Evil personified.

This long, epic, beautiful, graphic, moving film tries to make real the seemingly unreal. It begins with the creation of the Jewish Ghetto in Kraków. Families, singles, grandparents are all shoved into small rooms; 15000 into 3,167 rooms to be exact.

Meanwhile, German businessman Oskar Schindler (Neeson) is living the high life with his Nazi Party buddies. He has moved into town to buy a factory. With very little money to his name he seeks out some rich Jewish fellas to help out with the finances. It is here he meets accountant Itzhak Stern (Kingsley) who becomes one of his closest friends.

Eventually the Ghetto is liquified by the evil SS-Lieutenant Amon Goeth (Fiennes) who has a taste for blood and shoots for fun. He pops the people on trains and transports them to a work camp. Schindler, having witnessed the massacre at the Ghetto starts schmoozing Goeth so he can get his workers back and perhaps bring some justice back for the people.

With the end of the war looming, trains full of prisoners are sent to Auschwitz. In order to save as many people as possible, Schindler writes a list. He bribes Goeth to free them to work in his alternate camp in Moravia, away from the murderous Final Solution campaign. The men are sent successfully, but something happens to the women…

And that’s where I’ll leave you. If you haven’t seen it what are you waiting for? This is a heavy one, there’s no doubt about that but it is so beautifully told, so poignant, so moving. This is a true story.

For the most part it is shot in black and white. Director Steven Spielberg uses shadow and colours to speak, to move the audience, to tell the story. I cannot fault any of the performances. Fiennes and Neeson are cast perfectly as Germans, and Kingsley, as usual, is perfection.

The best part of the film is the ending with a quiet scene with the Schindler survivors visiting the tomb of their hero.

This is a long film but a worthy one. Worthy of a Best Picture Oscar (as well as 6 others). Loved it!

Schindler’s List Trivia:

  • Budget – $22 Million (worth every cent!)
  • The Auschwitz authorities wouldn’t let Spielberg film inside its wall so he constructed a mirror image set facing the real place.
  • Leopold Pfefferberg, a Schindler list member, convinced Thomas Keneally to write Schindler’s story after Keneally was waiting for his credit card to clear in Leo’s shop. He took him out the back and showed him files on what had happened. And the rest is history
  • Schindler’s original list was found in a flat in Hildesheim in 1999.
  • The stones placed on Schindler’s grave at the end of the film come from a Jewish tradition. The stones are a sign of respect.
  • Fiennes put on 13kg for his role by drinking Guinness.
  • Much of the liquidation scene was based on real events ie when the man says he’s been ordered to clear the road of suitcases.
  • Spielberg refused to be paid, as he saw it as ‘blood money’.
  • Spielberg was hesitant to direct this film as he didn’t think he’d do a good enough job. He offered the gig to Roman Polanski who turned it down as it was too close to the bone. Polanski had lived in the Ghetto until he was 8.
  • Fiennes apparently looked so much like the real Goeth that when real survivor Mila Pfefferberg met him, she couldn’t stop shaking with fear.
  • Filming was completed in 72 days.
  • Spielberg makes a cameo appearance as a Schindler survivor walking across a field with everyone else.

And breathe! What a film. What can possibly top that one? Perhaps Forest Gump? Hmmm.

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5 comments on “Best Picture – Schindler’s List (1993)

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