Thursday, 24 September 2009

Schindler’s Ark


Better known as Schindler’s List this is the “source material” for the Spielberg Epic. Now the quotes are quite deliberate as this is stated as being a history and therefore the source really is history itself.

I think that the film is one of the most conflicting pictures I have ever seen, heart wrenching and harrowing throughout it is a living nightmare to watch but essential viewing for everybody. I formally believe that we must never forget. For me some section of the film were hard to track as you would expect from the cramming of such a length of history into such a short period. In fact in a way it suffers in the same way as The Godfather did with forced brevity and far too little exposition. In this case also the book is far superior to the film.

As a winner of the Booker prize in 1982 the novel is surprisingly raw. The pose is clumsy and swings noticeably between stated history and conjectural history. There is almost nothing in the way of dialogue and again, as the Booker Prize is for fiction i seems odd that what is essentially a history novel could achieve it. That aside Schindler’s Ark is magnificent. As a work of history is expertly weaves political and social factors into a mesh that can be understood by modern audiences. Such things as the acceptance of persecution by the Jewish people and the inner working of the SS and camp structures are well covered and this makes Schindler’s Ark something odd. It is an historical account in the form of a novel and this is hard to rationalise. Until you think of most historical stories which are always embellished, adjusted and enhanced to suit the medium. In this way I am prepare to accept Schindler as a possible truth and it certainly seems close enough to pass as definitive.

Oddly I would recommend the film over the book. Emotive subjects are easier to take on paper and the tear that prick my eyelids whenever I watch the film didn't emerge with the book. Conversely the knowledge that I gained seemed so much more. Then, if you liked the book, watch the film. Learn from the past.

Paul Out

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