Son of Saul
We are already dead
Classic Elsternwick - Saturday 27 February 2015, 9:00pm
Running time: 111m
Release date: 25/02/16
Rating: 9/10 (ME 5/5, DP 4/5)
Hungarian Saul (Géza Röhrig) is a Sonderkommando, a Jewish prisoner processing the bodies of the executed in a Nazi death camp. When a young boy survives the gas chamber, Saul is offered a chance at redemption.
Son of Saul is an intense, confronting and deeply human depiction of the Holocaust. Set over two days, the film sustains a tone of oppression, cruelty and the best and worst of humanity throughout its 107 minutes. There's much more to say about the story, but the layers are best explored on screen rather than in text, and it's the uncertainty of plot directions that compounds the intensity. Despite the hopelessness of the situation, their is a hope in Saul's quest to perform one last act to preserve his humanity and tradition.
Filmed in a 3:4 aspect ratio, much of the vision is centred on Géza Röhrig's head with the action taking place out of focus in the background. His performance is exceptional as subtly of his face propels a story that is low on dialogue. There is imagery that is disturbing and confronting, but the atrocities that are heard or suggested are just as challenging for the viewer. There's no musical score but sound is used to great effect to heighten the urgency of his fate.
Son of Saul has been nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film, however it's worthy of being nominated in the best picture category and would make a worth winner. Extraordinary. (ME)
2017 BAFTA Awards