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Son of Saul (2015)

Son of Saul review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A poetic portrayal of horror – and also of the best in human nature.

My Ratings: 4.3/5.

Won the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film of 2016 (Hungary), won the Golden Globes Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language, won the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated for Palme d’Or – just a few mentions among the numerous awards and accolades that the film has received yet!

Son of Saul (original title Saul fia) is a film made on the backdrop of Holocaust.

The Holocaust – the most inhuman times in the son-of-saul-posterhistory of mankind when under the close watch of Nazi German dictator Adolf Hitler and his associates, a planned genocide took place and about six million people (mostly Jews) were systematically executed over a period of four years!

Over the years many acclaimed films have managed to portray that particular shameful and disastrous period, films such as Schindler’s List (1993) and The Pianist (2002) just to name a couple. But then again, Son of Saul probably for the first time have achieved something unique in its depiction of that dreadful era – it almost recreated reality!

The dark underbelly of a concentration camps, the sheer horror of those routine massacres, the heaps of bodies, the smell of the poisonous gas, and of course the constant fear of death – director László Nemes have made it all come alive.

Son of Saul is entirely based on two consecutive days taken from the life of Saul Auslander a Hungarian prisoner at one of the Auschwitz Crematoriums working as a Sonderkommando (those who were forced to aid with the disposal of gas chamber victims).

son-of-saul-poster1Brilliantly played by debutant Géza Röhrig, it’s about how Saul Auslander risking his own life tries to give a proper Jewish burial to the corpse of a boy whom he takes for his son!

Shot entirely with a 40mm lens, Through many long shots and handheld camera movements, cinematographer Mátyás Erdély made sure that the camera stays with the main character Saul throughout the film for the audience to encounter exactly what Saul experiences!

Stunning recreation of that period by production designer László Rajk; and exceptional sound design by Tamás Zányi – five months to create such a realistic background sound-environment.

Music score by László Melis on the other hand is kept intentionally very subtle.

Only a few rare films makes you use not only your eyes but all the other senses as well; to experience, to suffer, to appreciate, to endure – Son of Saul definitely counts as one of the purest form of Cinema!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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