When Eli said that a novel about Auschwitz is either not a novel or not about Auschwitz she meant that, Auschwitz did not really write about his imagination, but was giving an account of how the holocaust happened in front of his eyes since he was part of it. It also speaks of how he managed to save around one thousand one hundred Jews from death, but not an account of how Auschwitz himself took part in the holocaust. According to Schindler’s list, which is a three hour seventeen minute film produced by Spielberg, the veracity of the holocaust is not really represented as it happened since the director creates a story that viewers can easily accept and interpret (Hansen, 15-6).
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In this film, the dark and twisted nature of the holocaust is not shown with the story of Oskar Schindler being simplified by use of narrative techniques and a Hollywood ending so that the masses and viewers can relate to. In reality, the holocaust is about unimaginable deaths, however, the film tries to depict Oskar, altruistic Nazi, as the hero who saved eleven hundred Jewish lives when in reality he saved only .0002 percent of the million Jews who were killed. In the Shoah, over eleven million people were exterminated in the most inhumane way by the Nazis making it almost impossible to understand the extent of the holocaust. Geoffrey Hartman describes the holocaust as the subject of hell since a state of fatality that before the Shoah was a fantasy had become a reality through the Shoah. What Geoffrey meant was that, the holocaust continues to be a flight of the imagination even to witnesses because its veracity is too hard to accept, some witnesses were left traumatized and continued questioning their fundamental beliefs, existence and reality. This loss of association to the holocaust has made it difficult to give an accurate account of the holocaust through films like the Shoah or Schindler’s List.
In the film Shoah, testimonies have been used to present a clearer image of the holocaust and what happened as opposed to the Schindler’s list which uses reenactment that ultimately distorts what really happened in the holocaust. Through testimonies, the Shoah gives viewers an opportunity to see, hear and interpret the testimonies and come up with their own conclusions based on what they have seen and heard, while in Schindler’s List, the director, Stephen, controls every aspect of the presentation from what is to be said by who, at what time to even creating his own conclusion (Hartman, 28-9). By using visual representation in films, directors can easily affect and control viewer’s emotion or catalyze and arouse more understanding or resentment depending on how they use it.
First of all, visual representation may make a scene in the film so explicit that that the viewers will find it so hard to understand and allow or it can dilute images and scenes to prevent alienation of the watching audience hence making it acceptable within the audience. For example, in Schindler’s List, during the evacuation of the Krakow Ghetto, there are many scenes of weeping families being ripped apart by Gestapo officers who indiscriminately shoot Jews attempting to leave their homes while another scene shows a close up of a man being shot in the head and a woman being shot in arms of her husband as he carries her down the street (Allen, 12-6). As much as these scenes were a reality, the viewers may find it unreal due to the extent of the explicit content. An example of a scene that tones down the movie are the scenes in Schindler’s List that showed Schindler and his future wife in a rocky relationship which is finally resolved by Oskar and Emily.
These kinds of scenes in the movie are meant to create an alternate story for viewers to follow. In the Shoah, however, there are no graphic scenes or simplified situations, but testimonies only. There is also a scene where a Nazi gets attracted to a Jewish girl and Schindler kisses a Jewish girl, which showed the Jews in a negative light and tries to justify cruelties inflicted on them by making the audience to place the blame for the imprisonment on the Jews. The viewers are also made to focus on the few lives that Oskar saved rather than the masses that perished under his Nazi masters.