How Does Steven Spielberg Create Tension In The Film Schindler’s List?

843 words - 4 pages

Schindler’s List, directed by Steven Spielberg, is about Oskar Schindler, who made a milestone in German history during the World War II. Spielberg creates tension in the film during the scenes of the Liquidation of the Ghetto, the Little Girl in the Red Coat and the Final Solution in Auschwitz. The techniques that were used to create tension include sounds (such as diegetic and non-diegetic), lighting (the use of shadows), camera shots and angles, symbolism and motifs, and filming in black and white.

During the Liquidation of the Ghetto, a man in the sewers is attempting escape from the soldiers. Tension is created with the savaged barking dogs and gunshots can be heard as diegetic sounds, generating fear for the audience. In the hospital, a doctor is euthanising terminally-ill patients so the soldiers could not unleash their bullets and let the patients die in a horrific way. The bed sheets and the patients are in white contrasting the blood symbolising death because the blood is the colour black. Low angles are used when the soldiers are going upstairs in the apartment to clear it; tension is created because the low angle shots demonstrate the Germans gaining power and control as the Jewish have lost all of their personal possessions. When a Jewish man tried to save the life of a life young Jewish boy that attempted escape, Spielberg filmed this scene as a handheld shot to generate a sense of panic. After the Jews are cleared of their apartments, women and men are separated to highlight fear and widespread terror for the audience.

Amidst the Little Girl in the Red Coat scene, she makes her first appearance just as The Liquidation of the Ghetto is ending. Schindler is on the hill observing the obscure and sinister violence in a wide angle shot but also noticing the young girl in the red coat. She symbolises innocence, purity and death amongst the chaos in a large crowd. Schindler has changed perspective, as the audience is seeing her in a point-of-view shot as she walks aimlessly of the devastation around her. Upon seeing her, Schindler finally understood that each and every Jew had a life, and she is an individual recognised by colour. The Little Girl in the Red Coat scene illustrates tension and suspense because of the shock value to the audience. The audience has seen this as a horrific experience and sympathises for the Schindlerjüden. Tension is next created at the Plasow concentration camp when Schindler notices the...

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