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Author Topic: You Can't Say That! Stop It! Stop It!  (Read 4566 times)
Abby
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« Reply #45 on: October 01, 2002, 01:22:46 AM »

Uh, the evil Germans were historically accurate -- they even looked like their historical counterparts. I didn't see any hunchbacks.

By historical omissions, I meant stuff like the fact Oskar saved Gypsies as well as Jews. That's actually one of the best Schindler stories -- how he saved the frozen Gypsies. Or the fact he was one of first people to report the construction of the concentration camps -- reports which were dismissed even by Jews in Israel. He really put himself on the line to get the word out on war crimes more than the film indicates. The gravest historical omission -- one that undercuts the film -- was the fact that the Jews in the factory did actually murder German soldiers after Oskar left. That was an intentional omission.

The thing with the girl in the red coat was a story told by Schindler himself. That amidst nothing but smoke, suffering, bodies, and ash, all Oskar could see from the hilltop was one little brave girl in a red dress running away. In the book, it's a turning point for him. I know it's a "read the book" thing, but if you DO read the book, it's a beautiful visual translation.

Whether Schindler's List is true to history or not does not detract from its artfulness. Or its impact. Or its message. In my eyes, anyway. I know many folks who don't like the movie. It's just a super-hero story -- a super hero story that, in reality, is actually much more inspiring than the movie.
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Chris K.
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« Reply #46 on: October 01, 2002, 11:47:38 AM »

Abby wrote:
>
> Uh, the evil Germans were historically accurate -- they even
> looked like their historical counterparts. I didn't see any
> hunchbacks.

No Abby, what I meant by these comments on the stereotypes on my earlier thread is that EVERYBODY was stereotyped. The Nazi's were indeed evil (of course), but Speilberg shows THE REGULAR SIMPLE TOWNSFOLK as evil as well. As for hunchbacked jews, I didn't mean that in a literal way. The Jews are shown as meek individuals who walk slowly and cower in terror way too much with no human character whatsoever. And this I blame on Spielberg.


>Abby wrote:
>
> The thing with the girl in the red coat was a story told by
> Schindler himself. That amidst nothing but smoke, suffering,
> bodies, and ash, all Oskar could see from the hilltop was one
> little brave girl in a red dress running away. In the book,
> it's a turning point for him. I know it's a "read the book"
> thing, but if you DO read the book, it's a beautiful visual
> translation.

I guess I have to read the book. But, if this is what Schindler really saw then Spielberg really screwed up the message. As for the historical omissions that you pointed out, THOSE are the important parts of the story as well. By ommiting those out, their is no attempt at keeping the facts true and it does ruin the message and it's impact when I watch it. And I also don't think it's a super-hero story either. To me, the message that the film tries to impact is too preachy and a bit watered-down. As for art, their are nice attempts but really it just falls flat.

After this, I really need to read the book after all. If it's way better than the movie, then the book will have my attention.

So lets end this with an agree-to-disagree note.
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Abby
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« Reply #47 on: October 01, 2002, 03:49:52 PM »

Oh I hope you don't think we're warring here. I've no emotional bond to this movie -- IT'S NO GIRDLER FILM -- but yes -- the book is very inspirational and I do suggest you read it.

I think maybe the book sheds some light on why the Jews in the film seem as weak as they do. We're looking at a time period in which these people had already been disarmed and were essentially terrorized/enslaved/being put out of their homes. It begins with that. The characters themselves have more dimension in the book -- for good and for bad.

Interesting you mention the townsfolk -- at the end of the book, some of the Schindler Jews recount stories how when they were "freed," the Russian soldiers forced locals to give them their belongings -- shoes, clothing, etc.

But what you mention about how ALL of the townspeople were screaming out against the Jews -- symbolically speaking -- I've no problem with that. Because during all of WW2, not even a handful of people did what Schindler did. And that is why he is extraordinary. Yes, there were good folks quietly hiding people in their basements. But  the brazen heroics of Oskar are unique. In that sense, it really was just his theatrics vs. mobs of people yelling "Get Out Jews."
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Dano
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« Reply #48 on: October 01, 2002, 04:30:52 PM »

"Whether Schindler's List is true to history or not does not detract from its artfulness."
*****  This is true.  An historical movie does not have to be accurate to be great art or even to deliver the essence of an historical moment.  A great example is Patton.  The real Patton had a very soft, elderly face... but George C. Scott is what Patton SHOULD have looked like.  Glory is another example.  Very few men in the 54th were actually escaped slaves, but focusing on a couple who were greatly accentuated the spirit of what blacks experienced in the Civil War I thought.

Nevertheless, when an historical film departs from the facts (or omits them), someone who knows the facts must seriously question the agenda.  Unfortunately, lots of people LEARN their history from movies, and a slanted film creates slanted knowledge on which people base their judgements.  That the gypsies (and homosexuals, and Catholic priests, and communists, and mentally ill, and Slavic, and Russian POWs, and political dissidents, and many military commanders, and other victims of concentration camps) were not even mentioned in Schindler's List is frankly a little disturbing.  I'd encourage anyone who visit's DC to go to the "Holocaust" Museum and see how 99% of the exhibits (literally) are about Jewish people and those other victime of the Holocaust are barely mentioned at all (or given a nod in temporary exhibits).  It seems some Jewish groups (not Jews in general before anyone gets mad at me) are set on hijacking the Holocaust for themselves.  Ten million people died in the camps, not six million.  And there were a hell of a lot of East Europeans, especially in Russia and the Ukraine, who never lived long enough to see those camps.  No story about the holocaust can be complete without acknowledging this.

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Dano
"Today's Sermon: Homer Rocks!"
Dano
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« Reply #49 on: October 01, 2002, 04:36:17 PM »

The Nazi's were indeed evil (of course), but Speilberg shows THE REGULAR SIMPLE TOWNSFOLK as evil as well.
*****  Not too far off the mark, Chris.  There was MAJOR denial in Germany, and your average German was not fond of Jewish people (I got bad news - lots of em still aren't).  To argue that the bulk of the German citizenry was somewhat complicit (no, not as complicit as Himmler or Adolf) in the holocaust isn't the stretch you might think at first.

As for hunchbacked jews, I didn't mean that in a literal way. The Jews are shown as meek individuals who walk slowly and cower in terror way too much with no human character whatsoever. And this I blame on Spielberg.
*****  Again, I found this frighteningly realistic.  ANY person whose whole ethnic group is being marched at machinegun point to camps by a facist dictatorship is going to cower, beg, bargain, engage in denial, and try to rationalize.  Abject fear and humiliation have a way of depleting what you call human character.  To his credit, I thought Spielberg showed this masterfully.

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Dano
"Today's Sermon: Homer Rocks!"
jmc
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« Reply #50 on: October 01, 2002, 07:22:26 PM »

My problem with it kind of relates to Chris's problem.  I'd rather that he'd portrayed the Nazi characters as regular people doing horrible things instead of making them over-the-top psychopaths who would seem equally at home in ILSA: SHE-WOLF OF THE SS.  Not that those people didn't exist, but if you just focus on them you miss one of the key reasons why the Holocaust should be remembered.  I think SCHINDLER'S LIST is pretty good, and probably the best Spielberg is capable of, but he could have accomplished a lot more.
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Dano
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« Reply #51 on: October 01, 2002, 07:34:33 PM »

My problem with it kind of relates to Chris's problem. I'd rather that he'd portrayed the Nazi characters as regular people doing horrible things
*****  That's an excellent point, and the problem is that there weren't enough Nazi characters with enough screen time to explore this possibility.  He tried to go down that road a little bit with Ralph Feinnes' character (the affection for the girl, the mercy he tried to show the boy), but it smacked more of a psychopath dallying with humanity rather than a human plunging himself into psychotic behavior.

You're right.

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Dano
"Today's Sermon: Homer Rocks!"
Chadzilla
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« Reply #52 on: October 01, 2002, 08:04:45 PM »

We when from Barbershop to Schindler's List in a completely logical yet utterly convoluted manner.  I so look forward to seeing you all here tomorrow!

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Chadzilla
Gosh, remember when the Internet was supposed to be a wonderful magical place where intelligent, articulate people shared information? Neighborhood went to hell real fast... - Anarquistador
Chris K.
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« Reply #53 on: October 01, 2002, 08:09:14 PM »

Abby wrote:
>
> But what you mention about how ALL of the townspeople were
> screaming out against the Jews -- symbolically speaking --
> I've no problem with that. Because during all of WW2, not
> even a handful of people did what Schindler did. And that is
> why he is extraordinary. Yes, there were good folks quietly
> hiding people in their basements.

Then why didn't Spielberg explore that angle of some German folk hiding some of the Jews in their basements from the Nazi's? Again, this shows Spielberg throws out some important coverage and if he incorporated that theme in the film it would have broken down the stereotype which would have made the film better.

 
Abby wrote:
>
> Interesting you mention the townsfolk -- at the end of the
> book, some of the Schindler Jews recount stories how when
> they were "freed," the Russian soldiers forced locals to give
> them their belongings -- shoes, clothing, etc.

Now this is interesting. Another historical fact told from those who were involved that had to eliminated by Spielberg just to move the film along. With the important parts cut out, you are indeed missing out on alot.


Dano wrote:
>
> Not too far off the mark, Chris.  There was MAJOR
> denial in Germany, and your average German was not fond of
> Jewish people (I got bad news - lots of em still aren't).  

True, half of the German population has been in denial of the Holocaust (I guess they are having a tough time living it down) and that very little Jews reside in Germany now. But, do you have any evidence that the ENTIRE German population of today are still not fans of the Jews. I am not being hard-headed here, but I am just curious if you do have some facts or evidence on your last statement. I am all ears.

As for the film in general, I don't think it's Spielbergs worst (that title goes to ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE). But I also don't think it is Spielbergs best either. Scriptwise, it was too slow an a bit shallow. But the performances were good (except for Liam Neeson, he just didn't make a good Oskar Schindler for me). True, Schindler became the good guy and it showed that at least one German wasn't evil so I guess I really have nothing to complain about. But as a history lesson, with the more important bits not in the film I think it would be best to read the book as well as read the interviews of those who were there.

But now lets turn to Spielberg. I don't dislike him because of SCHINDLER'S LIST. I dislike him because he has turned into a moral, hypocritical ass who feels that he can still make art but he can also mangle it (i.e. the E.T. re-issue). I used to like him in the past and I still like his earlier films JAWS and Raiders of the Lost Ark trilogy in which he worried about entertaining the audience and cared less if he offended them. He's no Peter Jackson (and no, I am not comparing Peter Jackson to Steven Spielberg), but at least Peter Jackson doesn't worry about offending the idiots and just wants to entertain. Spielberg has lost his entertainment status.

What really gets me is his edit of E.T. Sorry, but just because a film made in 1982 has a line that says "terrorist" (and, I might add, if you pay less attention it slips by so fast) has to be edited out as well as some soldiers carying guns. Jesus, it may be Spielbergs own film but he basically BLEW HIS OWN FOOT OFF and mangled his own art. All this, and he now cares about not offending people. What a jackass.

Oh well, what are you gona' do?
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Chris K.
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« Reply #54 on: October 01, 2002, 08:21:43 PM »

First it was about BARBERSHOW and the censoring of certain scenes in the film. Then we moved to the political themes on censorship. And then, we moved to the MPAA and how Spielberg is able to dodge the rules.

The SCHINDLER'S LIST thing began on my first response when I labeled it as "Spielberg's not-so-good films". So chalk it up me if I started it (unconciously too, I wasn't aware what would happen) and I take full responsibility. But then kudos to me for taking it to the next level.
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Abby
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« Reply #55 on: October 01, 2002, 08:38:07 PM »

>> Then why didn't Spielberg explore that angle of some German folk hiding some of the Jews in their basements from the Nazi's?

Because it's not in the book and it doesn't relate to Oskar's own story. That's Helen Keller's story.
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Dano
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« Reply #56 on: October 01, 2002, 08:44:22 PM »

ChrisK wrote:  But, do you have any evidence that the ENTIRE German population of today are still not fans of the Jews. I am not being hard-headed here, but I am just curious if you do have some facts or evidence on your last statement. I am all ears.
*****  I don't have any facts to back that statement up, but I never said that nor do I believe it.  I'm basing my belief that there is still alot of antisemitism in Germany based on spending a lot of time there, knowing a lot of Germans, and hearing some of them say the kinds of things about Jewish people that you often hear a bigoted southerner say about black people.  I also base it on modest but significant voter turnouts for antisemitic candidates not only in Germany but in many European countries.  I'm not saying ALL Germans are this way... I don't even think most are.  But I can tell you part of the rational as I heard first hand from a bartender in Munich: some Germans (at least one) think Jews conspired to get America, and Britain against Germany in World War II.  He felt that without the Jews, Americans would have fought alongside the Germans against Russia and France.  I was in Berlin last summer and saw a Fuchs wheeled APC parked in front of a Synagogue, protecting it.  I did not see APCs outside churches or any other buildings.  The German Army wasn't guarding that synagogue for kicks.

As for the film in general, I don't think it's Spielbergs worst (that title goes to ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE).
*****  Yes!  Artificial intellectualism.

Oh well, what are you gona' do?
*****  Don't buy the video.  I didn't like ET when I was 11, I don't imagine it will appeal to me now anyway.

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Dano
"Today's Sermon: Homer Rocks!"
Dano
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« Reply #57 on: October 01, 2002, 08:46:57 PM »

Abby wrote:  >> Then why didn't Spielberg explore that angle of some German folk hiding some of the Jews in their basements from the Nazi's?

Because it's not in the book and it doesn't relate to Oskar's own story. That's Helen Keller's story.
*****  I think you mean Ann Frank.  I think Spielberg didn't go down that road because it would have made a long movie longer and in truth, it wouldn't have really been very representative of the Jewish experience.  Besides, it is essentially what Schindler did, isn't it?

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Dano
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Abby
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« Reply #58 on: October 01, 2002, 10:16:03 PM »

Ha ha ha ha -- right. Sorry -- I was on my way out the door.  I'm thinking Melissa Gilbert or whatever her name was. Gilbert played both Frank and Keller -- and she'll be both of them forever in my mind.
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Chris K.
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« Reply #59 on: October 01, 2002, 10:17:46 PM »

Dano wrote:
>
> ChrisK wrote:  But, do you have any evidence that the ENTIRE
> German population of today are still not fans of the Jews. I
> am not being hard-headed here, but I am just curious if you
> do have some facts or evidence on your last statement. I am
> all ears.
> *****  I don't have any facts to back that statement up, but
> I never said that nor do I believe it.  I'm basing my belief
> that there is still alot of antisemitism in Germany based on
> spending a lot of time there, knowing a lot of Germans, and
> hearing some of them say the kinds of things about Jewish
> people that you often hear a bigoted southerner say about
> black people.  I also base it on modest but significant voter
> turnouts for antisemitic candidates not only in Germany but
> in many European countries.  I'm not saying ALL Germans are
> this way... I don't even think most are.  But I can tell you
> part of the rational as I heard first hand from a bartender
> in Munich: some Germans (at least one) think Jews conspired
> to get America, and Britain against Germany in World War II.
> He felt that without the Jews, Americans would have fought
> alongside the Germans against Russia and France.  I was in
> Berlin last summer and saw a Fuchs wheeled APC parked in
> front of a Synagogue, protecting it.  I did not see APCs
> outside churches or any other buildings.  The German Army
> wasn't guarding that synagogue for kicks.

Sorry about saying you said all Germans are anti-Semitic, I kind of took it out of context to what point you were trying to make earlier (so right now, I should be kicking my own ass). But your examples do show that indeed their are some who are anti-Semitic, but not all.


Abby wrote:
>
> Chris K wrote: Then why didn't Spielberg explore that angle of some
> German folk hiding some of the Jews in their basements from
> the Nazi's?
>
> Because it's not in the book and it doesn't relate to Oskar's
> own story. That's Helen Keller's story.

Ann Frank, from what Dano said earlier, to be exact. Well, I have to disagree with what you said there Abby. Just because it's not in the book doesn't mean it cannot be explored at all. And if it were added in, it would just show that Schindler wasn't the only one. But, I guess we will have to wait for some other director to tackle that particular subject.
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