Schindler’s List Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Schindler’s List (1993): Real Story, Soundtrack, Symbols. “Schindler’s List: Summary, Plot Analysis, Essence Of The Film, Meaning And Explanation Of The Ending, Similar Paintings.

Genre: drama, biography, history, military

Year of production: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Actors: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall

tagline: “This list is life”

Awards and nominations: The film won seven Oscars in 1994.

The film by Steven Spielberg was based on T. Keneally’s novel Schindler’s Ark. This is a psychologically difficult, but strong tape that hits the very heart.

The picture does not promote violence. The meaning of the film “Schindler’s List” (Schindler’s List) is that Nazism is terrible in all its manifestations, and hatred is dangerous and inhuman.

Real story

In the center of the plot is the story of the German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who was able to save 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust.

The work on which Spielberg’s painting is based came to light thanks to the memoirs of one of Schindler’s workers, Poldek Pfefferberg. After leaving for the United States, for fifty years he tried to achieve a film adaptation of the story of Oskar Schindler, but was refused everywhere.

Liam NeesonLiam Neeson played the role of Oskar Schindler, and Ben Kingsley starred as Itzhak Stern. Frame from the film.

A miracle helped – in one of the stores, Pfefferberg got into a conversation with the Australian writer Thomas Keneally. Struck by the story, he took all the achievements of Pfefferberg and wrote a novel based on them.

The book was offered to be filmed by Roman Polanski, but he refused: the genetic memory turned out to be too strong. And Martin Scorsese, who was also offered the script, said that a director who is directly related to the Jewish people should work with him. So the script fell into the hands of Steven Spielberg.

The documentary effect of the film is enhanced by the rarities used in it. In particular, many artists were dressed in real military clothes of those terrible days.

The real Oskar Schindler, a bright, charismatic, but very ambiguous personality, modestly lived the rest of his days in Frankfurt and died in 1974. There, one of his real lists was found, which included 800 male names and surnames, 300 female and 100 – children’s.

He was buried in Israel. Many people saved by him came to say goodbye to him, whose descendants still keep a good memory of him.

What is the movie about

A brief description of the content of the picture. Poland, Krakow, 1939. By order of the Nazi command, the entire Jewish population must move to the ghetto within a short time.

Oskar Schindler, a German entrepreneur, comes to town to set up an enamel factory. Thanks to his intelligence and charm, he quickly makes the necessary connections and converges with the highest ranks of the German army and members of the SS.

Having obtained all the permits he needs, he tries to organize the production process and understands that the Jews driven into the ghetto can help him in the matter.

Jewish ghettoFrame from the film.

He offers them a simple scheme: they give him money, and he gives them the goods they need, which they can later exchange. Needing a good manager, he hooks up with local Jewish council member Yitzhak Stern. He is not eager to work for an enterprising German, but he understands perfectly well that this is the only way he will get a chance to break out of the ghetto and help his fellow citizens.

Many people from the ghetto, however, willingly agree to cooperate with Schindler – for them this is a great opportunity to leave the ghetto at least for a while. Stern gives them all kinds of support and even helps to forge documents.

The Schindler case is on the sly. He bathes in money and enjoys his position. He is sincerely convinced that he was able to rise and earn money precisely thanks to the war. This approach alienates him from Stern, who sincerely likes him.

At this time, SS officer Amon Göth arrives in Krakow. His task is to liquidate the ghetto and send the Jews in it to Auschwitz. Schindler, who managed to achieve Goeth’s favor, is horrified. Having met with Stern, he tells him about the danger he and all his fellow citizens are in. But he knows everything. Moreover, it is he who opens Schindler’s eyes to so many things.

Schindler starts to act. He soon becomes convinced that finding an approach to Getu is easier than he thought. Strict, impregnable and deeply ideological at first glance, he turns out to be an ordinary careerist, adventurer and corrupt official. Schindler convinces him to keep the people working for him alive. He agrees and asks to make a list of those who should not go to Auschwitz. Stern assists Schindler in compiling the list, and they gradually become close friends.

All the money Schindler spends on bribing Nazi German officers and saving people from death. He does this until the end of World War II and the surrender of Germany …

German officersFrame from the film.

Ending explanation

The meaning of the ending of the movie “Schindler’s List” is quite simple. Closer to the end, all the characters in the movie “Schindler’s List” learn that the Nazi regime has come to an end.

Amon Goeth is sentenced to death, and Schindler, despite his activities, is accused of “slave ownership”. Having neither the time nor the opportunity to defend himself, he is forced to flee. Wanting to somehow thank him, for forgiveness, the workers of his factory give him a letter confirming that he worked against the Nazi regime and saved people.

The picture ends with documentary footage from Israel: people saved by him come to the grave of Oskar Schindler. The explanation for the ending is this: the memory of this man will always live among the people.

The meaning of the film

At first glance, the essence of the film “Schindler’s List” lies on the surface: Nazism is an evil that has escaped from the depths of hell, and, driven there, it should never again appear in our world.

Steven Spielberg took over the script for Schindler’s List in the late 80s. And when I learned about ethnic cleansing in Europe, I really felt how relevant this topic is to this day.

The picture was shot in black and white, and this also had a special meaning. According to Spielberg, he wanted to get as close to documentary as possible. Indeed, in many scenes (for example, in the scene of a doctor’s examination, or in a short mise-en-scene in which women were “disinfected”) “Schindler’s List” resembles a documentary chronicle.

Also, the meaning of this approach was to create a “timeless film effect”. That is, he wanted the viewer to not be able to understand in what year this movie was filmed.

There are many films made on the theme of the Holocaust. So why does Schindler’s List stand apart? Probably, this picture differs from many others in that it shows the amazing evolution of the protagonist.

German concentration campFrame from the film.

At the beginning of the film, we see a rather cynical, narcissistic egoist who supports the regime and seeks profit for himself. However, he consciously changed and committed a heroic deed. This suggests that this can happen to each of us – after all, feats, small and large, are often performed by those who lead the most ordinary life.

Spielberg’s painting makes one think about what a false ideology can do to a person: by denying humanity, he himself ceases to be a person.

The girl in the red coat – who is she?

One of the most striking images of the film “Schindler’s List” was a girl in red. First, Schindler sees her alive, and then – dead. In their analysis of the picture, many viewers believe that the image carries a hidden meaning.

And there is. This image has several interpretations. According to one of them, the girl in red is a symbol of life, absorbed in death. Other viewers are sure that this image symbolizes the awakening of humanity in Schindler and his transformation from a businessman and adventurer to a humanist. Still others believe that the girl is the personification of the state of people suffering from Hitlerism.

Spielberg himself gave the answer. According to him, no one noticed the girl in red. Red is a noticeable color, and it is difficult not to see it. However, only Schindler saw her. The director wanted to show that other countries (in particular, the USA and England) were well aware of the Holocaust, but did nothing to stop it. That is, the Holocaust was a terrible red spot that they did not notice (or did not want to notice). Like the girl in the red coat…

Similar films

Here are a few films similar in atmosphere and meaning to Schindler’s List:

  • “Pianist” (France, Poland, Great Britain, Germany, 2002). The film is based on the autobiography of the famous Polish pianist Władysław Szpilman.
  • “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” (UK, USA, 2008). Eight-year-old Bruno, the son of a concentration camp commandant, meets his peer Shmuel. Their friendship leads to shocking consequences.
  • “Life is beautiful” (Italy, 1997). A man who finds himself in a concentration camp tries to imagine everything that happens for his little son as a game.

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