TORONTO, ONTARIO - SEPTEMBER 10: Steven Spielberg attends "The Fabelmans" Premiere during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 10, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Steven Spielberg Had No 'Safety Net' While Shooting Schindler's List
After making a name for himself with genre blockbusters such as "Jaws", Steven Spielberg wanted to prove himself to his critics and peers by transitioning into a more personal and serious phase of his career. After 10 years of holding onto a gifted copy of “Schindler’s Ark” and a renewed faith in Judaism, Spielberg felt ready to tackle the difficult subject.
Spielberg and his loyal cinematographer Janusz Kaminski wanted the film to be timeless, with Kaminski stating, "We want people to see this film in fifteen years and not have a sense of when it was made." To even further distance himself from his previous work, Spielberg "got rid of the crane, got rid of the Steadicam, got rid of the zoom lenses, got rid of everything that for me might be considered a safety net."
Most of "Schindler's List" was shot on handheld cameras in black-and-white to make viewers feel like they were existing with the characters in the film. Releasing the film in black-and-white was exceedingly risky, as the filmmakers were concerned it would lead viewers to think it was an art house film.
Spielberg described shooting "Schindler's List" as the most difficult film he made in his career on an emotional level. However, seeing as how it went on to win seven Academy Awards — including Spielberg’s first Best Director Oscar — the risks clearly paid off.