Immersed in Blu-ray: Schindler’s List

Hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Steven Spielberg came of age with his Oscar-winning Schindler’s List. Universal releases the Blu-ray this week and the black and white image mastered from the original negative looks crisp and luminous.

Man’s inhumanity to man is turned on its head with the redemption of Oskar Schindler, the war opportunist and Nazi (brilliantly played by Liam Neeson), who wound up saving more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. It’s a powerful movie about a man who seeks greatness through wealth but discovers a more meaningful and heroic path. Ben Kingsley provides the social conscience and gallows humor as Stern, the Jewish accountant, and Ralph Fiennes portrays the cruel antagonist, Nazi commander Goeth, the darker side of fear and ambition.

In light of Lincoln (which comes out on Blu-ray March 26 from Disney Home Ent.), it’s fascinating to compare the two movies and their depictions of war, intolerance, salvation, and freedom. They represent the two pillars of Spielberg’s oeuvre.

Bonus features include “Voices from the List,” a doc with testimonies from those who survived the Holocaust thanks to Schindler, and “USC Shoah Foundation Story with Steven Spielberg” about the formation of the USC Shoah Foundation.

Speaking of which, the historic release of Schindler’s List on Blu-ray also marks the beginning of the 20th year of the USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education.  Inspired by the experience of making Schindler’s List,  Spielberg established the organization in 1994 to videotape interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. The USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive contains nearly 52,000 testimonies, each encompassing a complete personal history of life before, during and after a subject’s first-hand experience with genocide. Through its extensive educational initiatives, including the IWitness website for middle and high school students, hundreds of college courses based on the archive that are being taught at universities on four continents, numerous teacher training programs offered in over 20 countries, and major global research partnerships, the USC Shoah Foundation is dedicated to making its Visual History Archive a compelling voice for education and action.  Spielberg considers this the most important work of his professional life and the legacy of Schindler’s List. Learn more and view testimony at sfi.usc.edu.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Blu-ray, Books, Clips, Movies, Oscar, Tech

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