PRINT February 1994


Schindler's List

Not until Schindler was I really able to not reference other filmmakers,“ Steven Spielberg has said. ”I’m always referencing everybody. I didn’t do any of that on this movie.“ But he did something even more ”post-Modern" and appropriative: he referenced the Holocaust, and without understanding it. Instead of interpreting this particularly notorious part of modernity (a part that pessimists have come to view as symptomatic of the whole), instead of gaining insight into it, he identified himself with it the way one does with a film star.

Schindler’s List is a filmic act of belated empathy yet of perfect timing, for the Holocaust is topical these days. The Holocaust is in fact a star, a great Jewish star—Solomon’s Seal writ large, perversely larger than ever before. Spielberg may have wanted to show Solomonic wisdom, but in Schindler’s List he practices what Solomon only provocatively preached:

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