"Shouldn't A Holocaust Film Be About Those Who Suffered It?"
Schindler's List. Treated as holy. Why? Because a big filmmaker decided on a big subject. And treated it as piously and shallowly as humanly possible. You heard me. Read on.It's the Holocaust version of MISSISSIPPI BURNING; the victims have no voice, no personality, whereas the Nazis have lots. And there were two scenes set up in such a Hollywood comic way that even a Jewish friend with me when I saw it couldn't help laughing a bit. I'm thinking of when you first see Fiennes, close up on his balcony, picking off unseen people from afar lazily; the other are the bungled executions, the one in the camp and his own. The Hollywood style is based on manipulation of emotions and Spielberg just couldn't stop, and didn't seem to think a Holocaust film had to be grim ALL the way through.
I always found it interesting that TV did a much better job dramatizing the Holocaust than film ever did. There's not a Holocaust film the equal of MAUS, even. Spielberg couldn't help using all the damn cheap Hollywood "invisible style"(HA!) tricks.
Its lack of success in my eyes I can only express as: I could easily tell it was a Spielberg film.
Compare Fiennes' character with Michael Moriarity in HOLOCAUST, an emotionally wrenching character because we see him slowly, mundanely, lose his soul; he's all the Eichmanns without which the Holocaust couldn't have run, the guys just doing their jobs. Fiennes' character is, at best, a slightly more brutal Sgt. Schultz.
And again, all that sufferin' silent poignant grateful-to-the-gentile victimry. Spielberg seems to think the story of the Holocaust is best told from the point of view of the Nazis, and well, that kind of disturbs me. Like CRY FREEDOM had to mostly be about Kevin Kline's reaction to Biko's murder, not Biko himself.
Also: in HOLOCAUST they devote a generous section to the Warsaw Uprising, which puts the lie to the well-trod myth there was no resistance, an idea that is often used by some idiots here and there to almost justify(!) the persecution, in a well-if-you-didn't-fight-what-did-you-EXPECT-kind of way. (There was, it was just crushed)
You'd never know this from Spielberg, just as you'd barely know there was a civil rights movement apart from three kids--two white--from MISSISSIPPI BURNING. Which wouldn't bother me except the way this movie has been canonized irks me mightily, as somehow the WAR & PEACE of the Holocaust. The one focused on the gentile. Yeah. Whatever. Christ, the 90s were a terrible decade for Best Pictures, weren't they?Find HOLOCAUST and rent it, or PLAYING FOR TIME, or read MAUS or NIGHT. Anything but this piece of self-important monstrosity.