How to... Hold a Film Night and Discussion

Poster for Schindler's List

Film: Schindler's List

Where you can find it: Netflix for free, Amazon prime £3.49, iTunes £4.99, Google Play £2.49.

Running time: 3h 15 min

Certification: 15

Synopsis: One of the most significant historical films of all time, Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List is a powerful story whose lessons of courage and faith continue to inspire generations. Winner of seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, this incredible true story follows the enigmatic Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. It is the triumph of one man who made a difference and the drama of those who survived one of the darkest chapters in human history because of what he did.

(From Google Play Store Synopsis)


Discussion Points (Questions and Answers)

  1. What were your initial reactions to the film?
  2. Consider both pros and cons of the film and any questions that the film raised that you would like to explore in more detail.
  1. Can a film really show what it was like during the Holocaust?
  2. If yes, consider how does the film do this? If no, consider why not?
  1. Was Oskar Schindler a good man?
  2. Is the argument that simple? What is the definition of a good man? If he is not a good man that what is he? How and where does someone like Oskar Schindler fit into the narrative of the Holocaust and the ideas of rescue?
  1. Why does Spielberg focus on the girl in the red coat?
  2. What could she represent? Why do you think Spielberg has chosen to highlight her?
  1. The film doesn’t give the Jewish characters much a of voice, perhaps with the exception of Stern. With this in mind, how central are the Jewish characters to the story of Schindler’s List?
  2. You should consider how Stern is an amalgamation of more than one person in real life. How does this lack of agency for Jewish characters impact the story told in the film?
  1. Can making Schindler a singular hero ever be an accurate portrayal?
  2. For example, he had very little to do with the actual ‘list’ and neither did Stern. What does this suggest?
  1. Why does Schindler’s List continue to resonate/to be so popular today?
  2. Not only is it important to consider the narrative of the film but the production and making of the film itself.
  1. Overall, is this a useful source to learn about the Holocaust?
    1. Yes – What makes it useful? What are the positives of using this film as a source?
    2. No – Why is it not useful? What are the negatives of using this film as a source?

Spend time reflecting on the film and addressing any questions that may have been raised by others throughout the course of the discussion.

For guidance on how to use Schindler’s List for your own film night and discussion, we recommend you watch our Education Officer Ben Fuller talk about Schindler’s List at HET’s own film club: Schindler’s List - #HETFilmClub Episode One - YouTube.


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