My project is going to be a blog about historical films and their effects and influences on popular memory of the historical events that they possess. The second major aspect of my project is to study how audiences engaged with these films. The main subject of study in this project is Schindler’s List, which is undoubtedly one of if not the most influential Holocaust film ever made. It’s influence on popular memory and the way it has engaged audiences is unlike any other film on the topic, which my blog will show. Schindler’s List was often people’s first real introduction to the Holocaust. It tended to: have a significant emotional impact, be one of the main references for information on the Holocaust by many people, and be seen as an authentic film that is telling a true story. There ended up being way more information on this topic for Schindler’s List than I anticipated. Since I have so much information, the post on Schindler’s List might end up being broken into a couple/few different posts. The aim is to include the following posts to the blog as well: a brief post providing context for what popular memory and the field of history and memory is; posts on the tv series Holocaust (1978) and Claude Lanzmann’s documentary Shoah–these posts will be similar in nature to the one on Schindler’s List. The post on Holocaust (1978) and Shoah will serve as comparisons to Schindler’s List as both of these films had significant influence on popular memory of the Holocaust in their own right. The inclusion of posts on these other works will also serve to show just how great the influence of Schindler’s List on popular memory of the Holocaust (both in the United States and outside of it) has been. Audiences are still actively engaging with the film in recent years (as can be seen in the articles, videos, and comment sections analyzed in the blog post), and the movie came out 30 years ago.
Here are google doc links to 1) my Schindler’s List post and 2) my notes for the whole of the blog. Check them out if you want!
2 Replies to “Digital Project Draft”
I wrote this comment out and then it refreshed and disappeared, so I’ll try to get everything down again!
Your project looks like it’s coming along really well, I’m excited to see what it looks like at the end of the semester!
The difference between the way formal critics and more informal audiences interpreted the complexity of Schindler as a character versus in real life was incredibly interesting! I wouldn’t have thought that the more informal audiences would see him as more complex than the more formal critics, who seemed incredibly worried that, because the film simplified his story compared to real life, people wouldn’t really pick up on his selfishness at the start of the film.
I’m also glad that you included the comment about not caring about the movie being accurate and your analysis of it! It, along with the Cynical Historian video and other comments you use, points out that historical films are being used as teaching tools and gateways to further study, but they also are, fundamentally, fictional movies. Historical fiction, especially Holocaust-focused fiction, certainly has an obligation to be accurate enough to responsibly represent the era and subjects, but it’s also at least as important for that fiction to successfully elicit deep emotions from the audience, which can’t necessarily go hand in hand with pinpoint accuracy at all times. It’s a tough line to walk, but clearly it’s possible!
Wow, going through those two google docs it’s clear that you have pulled together a lot of both relevant content to analyze and a lot of relevant secondary literature. So that is all great.
My initial reaction on the doc that is your first post is that it could very well be a whole series of posts already. Blog posts are often like 600-1000 words and that doc has 6500 words in it already. So if you do keep it all as one post it will be pretty long. It’s fine if you end up wanting to go that route, but I think you could also think about breaking each of the subsections of the doc down into smaller posts too. Like I think your analysis of each of the individual videos in the post could probably work as posts in their own right.
With that said, I do think you analysis and engagement with each of those videos is great. If you were interested, I think that you really have the makings of a great research paper in all of this too. The way that you dig into each of the videos that react to and engage with the film and the comments on those videos is fascinating and I think could make for a great publishable journal article if you wanted to keep working on and with them.