Thursday, February 25, 2016

Son of Saul - 1 nomination

Foreign Film - Hungary; Directed by László Nemes

Son of Saul introduces the world to the Sonnercommandos - Jews in the concentration camps who were forced to sacrifice their innocence as victims, to become the perpetrators.  These are the people who helped to usher the new groups of fellow Jews into the gas chambers, and then they were the people to clean up the bodies once they had been killed.  They were treated marginally better than other prisoners, but were executed themselves every few months.  This film follows one of the Sonnercommandos, Saul, who becomes obsessed with wanting to provide a proper burial to a teenage boy who did not die during the gassing, but died soon after.  Without knowing the reasons that he takes on this quest - especially to find a Rabbi who can help him with the proper rituals - we can only assume that this child may remind him of his own child who we guess was murdered upon arrival to the concentration camp.

The style of this film would best be described as "in your face," where most of the movie the lead actor's face and head take up the majority of the frame.  One has to sometimes deduce what is happening around Saul, because the only thing that is sharp is his expressions, his desperation, his guilt, his anger.  There is no respite during this film - it is hard hitting and doesn't allow for the audience to rest from the intensity, much like there was no break for any victim of the Holocaust.

The Director, László Nemes, was asked many times why he wanted to make "another Holocaust film," and his answer was simple.  The reason we need another Holocaust film is because you are tired of the Holocaust.  We can never allow ourselves to forget.  

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