Schindler's List (1993)
Funny how some things just entirely escaped you when you were young. This already shook and moved me when I watched it more than ten years ago, but I didn't notice, maybe too young to even recognize, how ruthless the film is in alternating between glamour and horror, and in having discussions of capitalism, self-interest, and power guide the Holocaust narrative (I basically get the whole transformation character arc from first watch, but this time I still almost gasped at a darkly comic cut during Schindler's "interviews" for his secretary, when he went from attentive to extreme disinterest for a middle-aged interviewee).
But it really works; the film strikes me how its approach is the maximal of what Son of Saul makes so minimal. The latter makes the horror what Saul has to feel on the periphery, just outsides of the focus of the vision of work he has to do to maintain his sanity, until later when the horror can't be contained anymore and stares him full in the face. With Schindler's List, Spielberg takes that approach to a conventionally epic, thornily thematic sweep. He concentrates on the rise of Oskar the self-made capitalist, complete with movie-star charisma and glamorous lifestyle, whose generosity is a happy accident of his self-interest, until he has repeatedly stared into the horror himself so many times that the self-interest becomes mixed, before turning selfless finally.
Spielberg has been accused of trivializing or sentimentalizing too much, but the last act has felt so forceful and cathartic to some in that sense only because he has laid the groundwork so well. A deadly power struggle between Schindler and Goeth, interspersed (not bombarded into numbness) by horrifying violence to represent what's at stake, isn't trivializing, it's just the whole point. And throughout we repeatedly see Schindlerjuden in how they start out and come to work for Schindler, so in every prolonged crowd scene, we become acutely aware that they are still there, are still people in the list that have been given oft-repeated names, faces, and personal stories throughout. In managing most movingly to blend the real facts with cinematic human touches, and the horrific event of millions with aching individuality, Spielberg has, in my opinion, reached the perfect synthetic point between Importance and Art, and transcended them both. Still his masterpiece. 10/10