Steven Spielberg's "powerful testament to the suffering of the Jewish people during the Second World War" is released on a two-disc DVD that takes the story of Oskar Schindler an important step further.
The 187-minute run time of this movie means that it has been spread over two discs. The black and white cinematography has an icy veneer that chills to the bone, while a new 5.1 DTS sound mix delivers crackling tension.
Rather than indulge in what might have seemed like spurious 'making of' featurettes on this acclaimed film, Spielberg has instead chosen to let us hear some of the testimonies that tell the true story of the Holocaust.
Voices From The List is a 77-minute documentary that takes a sample of the thousands of testimonies Spielberg has had filmed about Schindler. Importantly there's no retrospective painting of the man as a saint. Instead he's actually described as someone who drank heavily, loved both life and women, and ran many a dodgy black market scam.
The structure of the documentary is such that we follow the historical chain of events. The crucial elements that bring this vividly to life are the words of the survivors. Some need only speak a few words before they shed tears. One woman stands out though. She talks of how tough she became and tells of brushes with death that are terrifying to hear. Calm and resolute throughout most of the programme, she is finally moved to tears when she expresses gratitude that her mother died before she could see the full horrors of what her daughter had to go through. Seeing her break down is gut-wrenching, but also a tremendous privilege to hear the words of one so brave.
That's how many videotaped testimonies Spielberg's Shoah Foundation has gathered, and you can see how they've been put to work in a short featurette on the work of the foundation. Apart from some notes, that's it for extra features, which leave us with an appropriately dignified DVD recounting the story of Oskar Schindler and the people who insist they wouldn't have survived the war without him.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-N5 DVD player.