Friday, July 27, 2007

Schindler's List: The Girl in the Red Coat

The movie Schindler's List was filmed in black and white except for this small Jewish girl in a red coat who is seen several times in the film. In one scene, she avoids a round-up by slipping into a house and hiding under a bed.

Finally, however, we see her lifeless body flung on a cart before being dumped into a fire. Her pretty red coat is smeared with filth.
In this montage from Schindler's List, we see this little girl twice. Professor Paul Zweig describes this scene in his New York Times review of Thomas Keneally's novel:
[I]t began in earnest one summer day in 1942, when Schindler and his latest mistress were riding on horseback in the hills surrounding Cracow. Below them stretched a suburb with a wall around it, the new ghetto. Shouts drifted up the grassy slope, an SS Aktion was in course. Schindler saw Jews being driven out of houses, lined up and sorted with the crazed orderliness that was the signature of the killing machine. On one street, a man resisted, and an SS soldier shot him in the head. Schindler noticed a little girl in a red coat turn around to watch. The SS soldier patted her on the head and coaxed her back into the line. Schindler got off his horse and threw up. He understood now that the SS did not care who witnessed these acts, because the witnesses, even the little girl in the red coat, would die too. Death would erase the Jews, and also the killing. [Full text]
The cover of the book shows an adult holding the hand of a child with a red coat, but I don't remember anyone holding this child's hand. Perhaps the artist wishes someone had been holding her hand.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The little girl in red coat is the image of innocence, which was completely destroyed in WWII, not only in the death camps, but everywhere. The book cover shows what should've been done by every one, but only a few, like Oscar Schindler, had the strenght to - stretching a hand to save innocence and, why not, beauty.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her presences in embolden color (as opposed to the rest of the film being in black and white) brings attention to the INDIVIDUAL. Very clever, since the suffering masses (also made up of individuals) can sometimes get lost in the never-ending field of generic black and white.

2:57 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home