October 1944, Auschwitz. Saul is a Jewish prisoner. While working, he discovers the body of a boy he takes for his son. On the spur of the moment, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial.
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Son of Saul, the extraordinary debut by Laszlo Nemes, dares to depict the “implacable nakedness of the violence” (as Lanzmann called it), and does so to devastating effect.
April 01, 2016
It has sometimes been suggested that there’s little more to be said, in cinematic terms, about the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust, that it has been churned over too often. The single-minded power and visceral immediacy of Nemes’ achievement, rightly acclaimed and awarded, prove otherwise.
The sense and significance of images is not simply given or self-evident, even in the case of photographs. Any meaning they harbor depends on the viewer’s willingness to see and bear it. Son of Saul remains an undecidable film, and there is no guarantee that it has avoided the moral risks inherent in its project. Its true achievement is its capturing and projecting images that call for real imaginative and ethical work.
“Saul fia” is like a descent to hell. It is a distressing experience but it is something everybody should do, as the movie is a very unique depiction of Auschwitz and the Sonderkommando. You hear more than you see, and that is why the horror goes so deep into your psyche.
Decidedly unsentimental, technically remarkable, wholly divisive; I'm sympathetic to this portrayal which is so singular in vision (literally) that it could never try to surmise the whole atrocity. Instead we understand the opposite, a man attempt to afford the dignity of one against the deaths of millions. In this respect his quest is futile, but tragically captures the plight of his own contradiction. Powerful.
How does one transcend evil and do penance for deeds done simply for self preservation? Nemes' powerful and harrowing debut feature is unflinching in its depiction of hell and survival. The use of the 40mm lens creates a shallow depth of view putting us directly in Saul's immediate space giving the film a claustrophobic oft-overpowering view. Kudos to cinematographer Matyas Erdely and lead Geza Rohrig.
A fever dream of a film, in no small part due to the unrelenting locked down close up of Saul, the cramped square aspect ratio, the sound design, and the shallow depth of field. It reminded me of cinema's power for subjectivity and suggestion, the latter of which makes the film so much more of a physical experience than your typical historical drama.
Guilt in the eyes of completly impossible odds. This will stand the test of time. Im shocked that people would not get the core of this picture, but I chalk it up to never having had to try to cleanse your soul while living in hell.
Hell is here and it is happening now. "Saul" removes abstraction from the horrors of history through a rigorously focused and aesthetically disciplined exploration of life in a death camp. The viewer experiences the camp as a physical, lived space - its damp corridors, its schedules, shifts, and regulations. "Saul" proves one of the most purely cinematic films of 2015, an example of how subjective the medium can be.
This is a truly visceral and immersive experience. I was a bit confused in the beginning partly because of the form, it takes a lil while to get used to it. The subjective claustrophobic cinematography becomes incredibly effective. Kudos to László Nemes & Mátyás Erdély for their courageous filmmaking.
There has never been a film told quite like this. Son of Saul is an isolating experience that pits us alongside (or more accurately, right behind) Saul, brilliantly performed by Géza Röhrig. The clausterphobic nature of the film, enhanced by it's academy aspect ratio, is riveting and wrenching. The film evokes Elie Wiesel's "Night", a singularly focused examination of one man's journey through hell.