Analysis of Opening Sequences of Schindler’s List, a Film by Steven Spielberg

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Schindler's list is a film directed by Steven Spielberg and is about the life of Schindler, a great man who helped the Jews in the Holocaust. The first opening sequences are the most important because of the use of symbols, camera movement, and contrast, and they are used very well to foreshadow the rest of the story.

The use of symbols is probably the most easily recognized technique used to foreshadow the story. In one of the opening shots, we see a little Jewish boy looking into a flame. The flame of the candle symbolizes hope and foreshadows that there is a light of hope further on in the film.
In the shot after that, we see two candles on their own on the dinner table. This symbolizes or represents Schindler and Ischack Stan and that they are the light or the hope of the future.

The style of writing used in the credits at the start of the story is the same style of handwriting that is used for writing the lists of the Jews. So this foreshadows the dehumanizing process of the Jews being put on lists and the way that they are recognized. A little later, we see a man that is setting up a table on the side of the train tracks. We see a bottle of ink, and the man starts to write with it, which is another example of the dehumanization process and foreshadows the way that the Jews will be treated later on.

The use of camera movement is a more subtle technique used to foreshadow. We see in the opening scene a low-angle shot of a family of a Hassidic Jewish family standing around a table praying. The low-angle shot gives us a sense of the power they have in their faith and the tight support they have towards one another. This foreshadows the strength they have throughout the film to try and survive the slaughter.

When the candle goes out, the camera very cleverly is moved from the plume of smoke from the candle to the smoke of the steam engine. This foreshadows later in the story the change from the smoke of the steam engine to the smoke of where people are being burnt in Auschwitz. After we see the smoke from the train, the camera pans across to a table, getting set up. We see a montage here, a number of close-ups of the objects on the table. These fast-paced movements by the camera foreshadow the frantic and fast-paced torture, and terror brought to the Jews.

My last point is the way that contrast between black and white is used in the story. In the first shot of the story, we see a burning candle against a dark background which contrasts the dark as evil and the hope, which is the bright light. The light slowly goes out until it is all dark. This foreshadows the hope for the Jews at the start of the story, but as the film moves on and the candle keeps burning, all hope is lost, and darkness prevails.

In the opening sequence of Schindler s list, the foreshadowing of the rest of the story is used very well by the techniques of symbols, camera movement, and contrast. This gives the film more meaning and makes the viewers think a little more.

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Analysis of Opening Sequences of Schindler's List, a Film by Steven Spielberg. (2023, Mar 07). Retrieved September 25, 2023 , from

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