Sep 27
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Schindler’s List Revisited: A Case for Its Moral Value

Dr. Melenia Arouh
Professor of Communication and Philosophy
Assistant Head, Department of Communication

When: Monday, June 6, 14:30 – 15:30

Where: Deree Faculty Lounge

Organized by: Faculty Research Seminars 2015-16 Series

 


Abstract

by Melenia Arouh

Schindler’s List was released in 1993.  It recounted the story of Oskar Schindler, a member of the Nazi party and war profiteer, gave all his fortune to save over a thousand Jews.  Since then, other, likewise mainstream, films dealing with the Holocaust have been released, such as Life is Beautiful (1997) and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008), provoking some critical discussion but very little compared to the heated debate that followed the release of Steven Spielberg’s memorable film. So, what justifies a discussion about Schindler’s List after so much time? I will argue in this paper that this film remains one of the most moral representations of the Holocaust. Going back and examining the values of this film is very important today, given the growing anti-Semitism in the world, and Greece especially.

My paper considers the most notable objections to this film, and attempts to answer them by examining both the film’s moral message and its aesthetics.Specifically, I explore the film’s refusal to trivialize its subject matter for the sake of a standard Hollywood narrative. Through its aesthetics the film succeeds in revealing Humanity in the midst of horror in ways that allows the audience to relate to the characters and the subject. This is a film that wishes to educate the emotions of the audience, and to pass a message about the value of human life.


Melenia Arouh

Melenia Arouh has a BA in Philosophy from Deree – The American College of Greece, an MA in Film Studies and a PhD in Aesthetics and Cinema from the University of Southampton, UK. She joined Deree in 2005, teaching courses in the Communication and Philosophy departments. Her current teaching includes such courses as Introduction to Film & Television Studies, Film Analysis, Screenwriting, Issues in Context, Aesthetics, and Philosophy and Cinema. Her publication and research interests are in the areas of aesthetics, film and television theory, the philosophical study of cinema, and art criticism. She has worked in the past as a freelance journalist for a number of Greek magazines and newspapers, including Cogito and Eleftherotypia. At Deree she serves as the advisor to the Film Club, which organizes the annual Deree student film festival. Currently she also serves at the International Honors Program advisory committee, and The ACG Review editorial board.

She has published many book reviews for the European Journal of American Studies, as well as – to mention just some of her work – the articles “Greek Reality, American Television” in the anthology American Culture in Greece, “Mapping Cinema Space” in the anthology Screen Method: Comparative Readings in Screen Studies, and “Aesthetics of the Film Biography: Painters and Paintings” in the anthology Experience and Understanding – an Anthology on Biography and Biography-Theory. She has also written the script for the short documentary “The Image of Memory,” screened for the Holocaust Memorial Day at the Megaron Mousikis, Thessaloniki, in 2009.