Schindler's List Steven Spielberg

Schindler's List Steven Spielberg
Every DVD has a marketing dilemma: how to sell a film back to its audience. It is a job made harder still when the film in question has been anointed by audiences and critics alike as a masterpiece, reaped the highest honours of its medium and been elevated for its contribution to the form. Hell, it even contributed to world peace. Heavy. The release of Schindler's List is a perfect case in point. By now, many already know the story of Oskar Schindler, a rich, war-time industrialist who sacrificed his fortunes and risked his safety in order to protect several hundred Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazis. The position its distributor has chosen to take is to encourage us to own a piece of the film's legacy and in countless commercials (backed by a sweeping John William's soundtrack) we are told that this is a film that will bridge generations. Nowhere in there though does it impress upon buyers that they might watch the film for art's sake, which is a pity when you consider how visually moving it is. If you can step away from impact the film has had on popular culture, a reviewing of the film on the tenth anniversary of its making confirms Spielberg's achievement is exceptional because mainly the artistic elements worked so well. He took a risk not only with his choice of material but also in his casting — choosing relative unknowns in major roles (Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goethe) — and crew choices. Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski's visuals are stunning, bathed in an almost ethereal light at times, while shockingly clear and sharply focused throughout. The tone that it evokes is grim when it needs to be and light when you least expect it; it's a stunning counterpoint when you consider the horrific images straddled herein. It would have been nice to have been guided through the film with either of these men's commentary but sadly there is none, an odd choice when you consider how often its cinematic elements were praised in reviews. But this is a package concerned mostly with its "legacy component" (again, those weasel's in marketing can be blamed for the jargon) and for those interested in that side of the picture, there are two documentaries attached. The first, "Voices from the List," is all it's touted to be — a fantastic bit of historical culture that features testimonies from Schindler's Jews. It is powerful and brings home in great moving detail the horrors of war and each person's responsibility in the face of it. The second, "The Shoah Foundation Story," is a little heavy handed and falls just short of an infomercial, where content is concerned. (Universal)