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February 1994


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louis schwartz <[log in to unmask]>
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louis schwartz <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 7 Feb 1994 12:20:23 -0600
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Word up to Kathleen Ely. The problem with Shindler's list is in large part
hat it allows us to construct a fictional alternative to what happened in
the camps. It sets up Schindler's camp as the model of that alternative; a
unique reservation within a unique event. The dominance of a certain
mimetic urge in the film forclosed the possibility of comparing the
holocaust to any other genocide . The look of the film is predicated on a
recreation of the holocausts absolute specificity. And yet S. has said in
Premier that Schindler's character was based on that of Universal execs.
This is feelgoodism at its worst, horror as the absolute particular, human
overcoming as the generalizable. Furthermore the title at the end that
*sutures* the happy ending into reality by telling us that the *Schindler
Jews* propagated is the most unethical moment of the film. Is one Jew
replaceable by another? Was the holocaust only horrible because it
lessened the Jewish population? Or was it horrible at the level of
individual experience and of the utter destruction of unique beings? This title,
and the shot of real Jews (as if their existence had to be proved outside
the films fiction) serve to reduce Jews to characterless economic units
who are important in so far as they have number. The inclusion of shots of
the actual survivors of Schindler's factory only serves to spread the
conotations of the depiction of Jews in the film's narrative to Jews in
the world. The economy whereby one Jew can be replaced by another is a
thought form common to both Schindler's List and the Nazis.