[watch] A Simple Touch: Hands in Steven Spielberg’s SCHINDLER’S LIST

When a director is paying attention to hands, he or she is trying to convey to the audience one or more of a series of things: tactility, fragility, compassion, cruelty, creation, destruction, compulsion, guilt or salvation. The hands are our first tools, they are how we started to make the world and the things in it that help us make it better, or worse. Hands usher new life into existence; hands deliver the deceased back to the Earth. It is by our hands that we first learn, and it is our hands that communicate when we otherwise don’t have the power. So when a director lays a cinematic emphasis on them, it is symbolism of the highest and most intimate order.

Such is the case in Steven Spielberg’s dramatic masterpiece SCHINDLER’S LIST, which is full of close-ups of hands that convey several of the above-mentioned traits and more, ultimately adding another layer of the personal to this film of global consequences. A new compilation from Lyric Payne stitches together all these shots into a single stream of tangibility that pulls us deeper into the story and the characters who inhabit it, thus rooting the film firmer in our consciousness.

Hands of Schindler’s List from Lyric Payne on Vimeo.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist