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February 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 6 Feb 1994 19:25:00 -0700
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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I saw *Schindler's List* yesterday and I think it not only does not develop
characters, it fails in numerous other ways.  It's more like ET goes to the
concentration camps.  Spielberg's exploitation of the Holocaust is just
that--the atrocities he films were relatively minor compared to their
reality.  Watch instead, Lina Wertmuller's *Seven Beauties*, which I came
home and watched afterwards.  Instead of Itzhak Perlman's schmaltzy faux-
Jewish nostalgia music, you'll find Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyrie"
juxtaposed over images of the camps--highlighting the irony of the
"highest" point in German culture meeting its true manifestations in the
camps.  Instead of children jumping in the latrine to save themselves, you
see a man consciously choosing to do so in *Seven Beauties* because the
world is that terrible.  Instead of tremulous old folks now in Israel,
survivors who march together (looking ever so much like the folks in *Salt
of the Earth*) victoriously, you see what really happened in *Seven
Beauties*: a man looks himself in the mirror, and we look deeply into his
eyes and when he says "Yes, I am alive," we know he survived, but at what
cost?  Spielberg ends the film saying, "Ah, yes, we are all here now with
our children," but is he really speaking for the dead?
And worse yet, I think, is Spielberg's insistence on making an upbeat movie
in the face of current world politics.  Do you think anything less is now
occurring in Bosnia?  At least, when Alain Resnais made *Nuit et Brouillard
*--the most powerful of films about the Holocaust, especially because it is
a documentary and doesn't allow us to construct some fictional alternative,
like *The Diary of Anne Frank* and *The Sound of Music* and *Schindler's
List*--he had the courage to draw parallels with the then-current situation
in Algeria.  With all the money that Stephen Spielberg has made making
movies, you would think that he might have had the courage to at least
point out that the same situation is now happening in the Balkans--the
systematic killing of certain minorities.
But Spielberg will win Best Picture and Best Director for having done his
little bit in convincing that two-thirds of the U.S. population who are not
sure the Holocaust occurred that perhaps it did.  Too bad he wasn't MORE
Just incidently, despite my not appreciating this bit of fatuous filmmaking
, I was upset enough about the trailer which played beforehand to get
into it with the theater manager.  "Were you offended by the preview for *Naked
Gun 33-1/3*?  Was it dirty or something?" he asked me.  There oughta be a
Kathleen Ely
Eastern Montana College