This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Two separate but relative film items induced this particular theatre, movie memory. The first being my initial-viewing of the 2004 thought-provoking documentary, Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust, last month. The other, my colleague ckckred‘s 2012 piece, Stanley Kubrick on Schindler’s List, I only recently found:
“Schindler’s List is perhaps the highest praised film of the last twenty years and one of the most heralded. Though Kubrick does have a valid point, I feel he’s missing the message of Schindler’s List. Spielberg’s story not only was about the Holocaust, but the redemption of a man. Oskar Schindler’s rescue of hundred of Jews is not only heroic and brave, but also touching to the audiences.”
The AVCO Centre Cinemas:
December 29, 1993: Show me the child of a war veteran and I’ll show you someone, at some time or another, compelled to look in-depth at the historical conflict that drew their parent in. It’s a given, at least for me. In my case that was World War II, the Pacific Theater campaign specifically. The enormous scale and scope of a world at war meant any study couldn’t stay in one area of action, though. With what occurred in Europe, sooner or later any leafing through history will force you to come to terms with slaughter unimaginable.
That being the mass murder of Jews under Nazi Germany during this period, aka The Holocaust. Even with the war’s wholesale destruction and loss of life across Europe and Asia, spanning the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the systematic and bureaucratic killing of approximately six million Jews by Hitler’s regime remains a shocking and sobering deed. Still difficult to fully comprehend, then and now.
When Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List was released in 1993 everyone I knew was fully aware of its content going in. And the film’s power to upset and move viewers. Back then, L.A.’s westside venues screened the film to packed houses throughout that first month. Especially on weekends. Many wrote or spoke out about their experience and its impact. So, it was during a weekday evening that my wife and I attended this at the AVCO Centre Cinemas (I’d pre-bought tickets).
To this day it remains one of the most searing and affecting movie experiences. For both of us. Ever since, every few years I’ll re-watch the film at home. It’s difficult for me to screen it more often than that. It would be because, almost twenty years later, the film’s lost none of its power.