Essay Sample on War Films

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  928 Words
Date:  2023-01-11


Amon Goeth - Helen Hirsch Scene is set in a dark unorganized room which takes a look at the authoritative and combative nature of Ralph Fiennes who plays the role of Amon Goeth. The scene starts with the Jewish performing their routine prayer then leads to the dark room where Helen is standing still and joined by "her master" Ralph. This scene signifies the captive nature of the Nazis over the Jew's during the Second World War. The uses of black and white pictures, musical underscoring and Ralph's monologue all combining to capture the viewer's attention and paint a picture of the inhuman treatment experienced by the Jews in the hands of Nazis in the ancient times.

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The image quality used in the scene brings back the ancient times in the memory of the viewers as though Schindler's List is documentary work. Even though this film is a manifestation of a true story, the scene's professional settings such as the dim lights used, the camera focus of the different occurrences in the film and the slow camera's movement and change of focus captures the viewer's imaginations. These techniques take the viewers back to the ancient times during the Second World War when Jews were slaves to the Nazis (Gale 22). The setting generally gives the picture of the dark times in world history during colonization times when discrimination based on race and ethnicity was the norm in society.

The filming of the scene itself in black and white sharply brings about the ancient appeals of a documentary. The burred nature of the image quality, black and white focus on the Jewish group performing their prayer at the begging of the scene. It is a symbolism which dulled the significance of ethnic and racial conflict to the Holocaust (Eley & Grossmann 55). The handheld cameras used in the scene as they gradually move around the room where Ralph is sarcastically talking to Helen provides the heightened realism in the cinema as they were the only ones available technologically during the times which the movie is cast.

The movie's director (Steven Spielberg) uses the parallel editing technique to influence how viewers perceive the episode. This technique weaves through the scene with the focus mainly on the feelings that evokes the emotions viewers' emotions. While it may appear an eye-catching, aesthetic appeal to an average viewer, the combined parallel editing of Ralph smacking Helen in the face and the scene where Ralph enjoys the dance from Helen in a wedding setup signifies a master who reigns supreme over his slave (Banwelll & Fiddler 162). Helen being a Jews is under the dictatorship of Ralph who commands her hence has powers to do whatever he wants on her as the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust.

The way Ralph violate Helen in the scene is a technique used to describe the violent nature of the Holocaust experienced during World War II. Ralph walks in the semi-lit room where Helen is a hostage. She is standing still signifying her helpless life and the torture which the Jews passed through in the hands of Nazis. The Nazis are not allowed any freedom as the pathetic nature of the room depicts an environment not suitable for human stay (Loshitzky 32). Ralph goes ahead to describes Helen as he feels that she is of a lesser class through his dialogue in the room. "Is this the face of a rat? That's not a Jews eye." This is a monologue by Ralph in the room who seemingly mocks Helen in her helpless nature knowing that he has total control over her. "I would not want to reach out and touch you in your loneliness" (Szczypa 26). This statement, together with the camera focus on the helpless facial expression of Helen on hearing them indicates what the Jews women underwent in the ancient history during World War II.

Despite its world acclaimed success of winning seven awards including best director and best picture, Schindler's List is not short of critiques. Its critiques argue the directors of the movie turned the Holocaust into an entertainment thing. However, the musical tone which exudes throughout the scene invokes sympathy from the viewers (Gelley 18). The helpless nature when Ralph smirks Helen and physically abuse her also invokes sympathy from the viewers. This scene is a scene which brings out the extreme conditions which the Jews were in, and it succeeds in portraying this historical event of the past.

In general, all the war films we watch today are anti-war films. This movies do not glorify discrimination and violence against humanity but use formal and effective film techniques to impart the message to viewers. In the analyzed episode, Schindler's List reminds the viewers of the importance of visual storytelling, the black and white camera settings, and the sympathetic nature of the characters to conjure meaning to the viewer about the inhuman treatment of minority race by their superiors during ancient times.

Works Cited

Banwell, Stacy, and Michael Fiddler. "Gendered viewing strategies: a critique of Holocaust-related films that eroticize, monsterize and fetishize the female body." Holocaust studies 24.2 (2018): 150-171.

Eley, Geoff, and Atina Grossmann. "Watching Schindler's List: Not the Last Word." New German Critique 71 (1997): 41-62.

Gale, Cengage Learning. A Study Guide for Thomas Keneally's" Schindler's List". Gale, Cengage Learning, 2016.

Gelley, Ora. "Narration and the Embodiment of Power in" Schindler's List"." Film Criticism 22.2 (1997): 2-26.

Loshitzky, Yosefa, ed. Spielberg's Holocaust: critical perspectives on Schindler's list. Indiana University Press, 1997.

Szczypa, Piotr. "New Article: 3Heroes and the Monstrous Event of the Holocaust in Schindler's List and Korczak." The Polish Review 60.1 (2015): 23-38.

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