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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

QOTD: What is your most memorable movie poster ever?

Schindler's List poster

This headline caught my eye this morning:

‘Red coat girl’ from ‘Schindler’s List’: I was ‘horrified’

A taste of the full piece at Yahoo! Movies:

In 1993 she was just 3 years old. That’s when Oliwia Dabrowska portrayed Red Genia in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning “Schindler’s List.” Fast-forward 20 years later, and now Dabrowska has revealed she was quite distressed the first time she saw her historic role in the Holocaust drama — one in which she is depicted as having died at the hands of Nazis.

Spielberg had advised her to “grow up into the film,” she told The Times, warning her not to watch it until she turned 18. But a curious Dabrowska screened the film anyway. It’s a decision she said she “really regretted.”

“I was ashamed of being in the movie and angry with my mother and father when they told anyone about the part,” Dabrowska said of her initial position on being in “Schindler’s List.” “People said: ‘It must be so important to you, you must know so much about the Holocaust.’ I was frustrated by it all,” she added.

But now Dabrowska’s initial horror has turned into pride. “I had been part of something I could be proud of,” she said of her current thinking on her iconic role.

This reminded me of the power of that poster… because it doesn’t depict what you think it does. Or, at least, that was my reaction to it. I figured, when I first saw the poster, that it was an illustration — perhaps metaphoric, perhaps literal, perhaps both — of Schindler rescuing someone, which is what the movie is about. But in fact the body in the red sleeve is already dead, and it’s the discovery of her that spurs Schindler to action. I still reel from the horror of that: not just what it actually is about but how it is the opposite of the hopeful moment I originally perceived it as.

What about you?

What is your most memorable movie poster ever? And why?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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