How are films like "Schindler’s List" important in continuing the message that regimes that control people so successfully are very dangerous?

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Another reason these films are not only successful but also of critical importance is because they explore the role of the bystander in the Holocaust. While many people were completely helpless to help others, there were many, many people who knew exactly what was happening and were complicit in allowing it to continue. So many people were unwilling to risk themselves and their safety to help others; does this mean that they value their lives more than someone else's? Such films serve to not only highlight the nefarious people who slaughtered millions of innocent people but also serve to shine a light on those who did nothing to stop it.

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Schindler's List is most powerful because it presents a visual of the Holocaust.  It, like other meaningful multimedia presentations, grasps the attention of our visually oriented culture.  While we can read about the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide and look at pictures of them, when one combines that information with audio and movement, reality sinks in.  Film directors and actors are able to portray multi-faceted views of historical events and give the perspective of all sides involved.

With Schindler's List or even the more contemporary Valkyrie, the viewer witnesses the absolute control and power that these destructive regimes have over other humans.  They are somehow able to translate to the screen the fear that even those who are involved in the regime have toward their "leaders."

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Schindler's List, like The Diary of Anne Frank before it, is especially powerful and effective because it puts a human face on the Holocaust. Statistics are desensitizing--Who can comprehend six million?--but mass tragedy becomes real in human terms when it is explained in terms of specific human suffering. Movies like Schindler's List are also effective because they speak to us visually, communicating truth through compelling and frequently shocking pictures. Schindler's List, and films like it, are important because they make us really understand tyranny, and they won't allow us to forget what we have seen and learned.

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Films like "Schindler's List" are essential in the process of understanding the dangerous regimes because they broaden our scope of understanding.  In a film such as "Schindler's List," we understand better the importance in speaking out and taking action.  Part of what makes watching "Schindler's List" so effective is the belief that the Holocaust was real.  And yet, there was so much silence and paralysis on the part of outsiders.  People all over the world, the so- called "civilized" world, knew what was happening and did little to stop it.  Part of what makes "Schindler's List," "Hotel Rwanda," "Sophie's Choice," or "Counterfeit Traitor" so very effective is that we understand more why the need to take action, to speak out, and to be a voice of compassion is essential.  Through watching the negation of voice in a film like "Schindler's List," we develop our own in the need to speak out against regimes that lack compassion, understanding, and seek to consolidate power by eliminating multivocality in society.

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Regimes that control people are successful in times of war or great economic depression.  During these troubling times, people look for a leader and for solutions.  When a charismatic leader comes along, therefore, people are ready to follow. Along with the propaganda of the media, this dynamic leader can restore hope and pride to a people.  Such is the case with Adolph Hitler, who improved the German economy by building up manufacturing and employment through the military/industrial complex; he restored German pride with his ideal of the "Master Race," he engaged in a singleness of focus through the anti-Semitic propaganda that was employed as well as through other uses of propaganda. 

This control of the media is essential to regimes such as that of the Nazis and Communists since it limits what the public in order to convey their message only and, thus, control the people.  Those individuals who do not wish to "follow the crowd" and ingest the propaganda are punished or killed in such regimes.  In the recent reign of Sadaam Hussein, for instance, hundreds of thousands of people were eliminated.  Pol Pot of Cambodia executed two million people from 1975-1979.  Of course, the "cultural revolution" of China cost millions of Chinese their lives as did Stalin's and Hitler's despotic regimes.

In these regimes, not only is there genocide, but individual rights are sacrificed.  In short, the end of one's true humanity comes with such dangerous societies. For these reasons a film such as "Schindler's List" is, indeed, of paramount importance since even today we are witness to the tremendous affects that the media and political thinking can produce. 

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