Schindler’s List

Inciting Event: Schindler opens his factory in Krakow using the Jews’ money and their cheap labor.

First Plot Point: Schindler witnesses the mass terror and murder as the German commandment Goeth oversees the Jews being cleared from the Krakow ghetto and moved to the concentration camp.

First Pinch Point: Schindler is forced to make a deal with Goeth in order to keep his workers. The huge First Plot Point lasts so long in itself that it forces the protagonist’s all-important reaction to that plot point down to the First Pinch Point at the 3/8ths mark.

Midpoint: Schindler makes the conscious decision to save people from the camp by recruiting them to his factory. This is a relatively quiet plot point, but it’s crucial since it marks the shift in Schindler’s attitude from reactive to active protection of not just his workers but as many persecuted Jews as possible.

Second Pinch Point: Schindler is arrested for kissing a Jewish girl. This really isn’t a particularly strong pinch point, since he’s promptly released, but it does emphasize the power of the antagonistic force against not only the Jews, but Schindler himself.

Third Plot Point: Amidst the digging up and burning of the dead from the ghetto clearing, orders come for Schindler’s Jews to be sent to the camp at Auschwitz.

Climax: The women workers who were supposed to arrive at Schindler’s new factory are accidentally routed to Auschwitz instead.

Climactic Moment: The war ends.

Resolution: Schindler must go on the run as a war criminal. Years later, the surviving Jews pay tribute to his grave.

Notes: The timing in this movie is a little problematic. It’s decidedly heavy at the front end with the huge set-piece of the ghetto clearing at the First Plot Point. The Third Act is almost anti-climactic, in that, aside from the terrifying but ultimately harmless detour to Auschwitz, there is never any real threat against Schindler or “his” Jews. The conflict effectively ends when the women are rescued from Auschwitz, and we might even argue it ended prior to that, since the promise of unbearable conflict in the Climax turns out to be something less than that.

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