Géza Röhrig in Son of Saul
Published: 29 April, 2016
by DAN CARRIER
SON OF SAUL
Directed by László Nemes
IF you are going to see one film this year, make it Son of Saul. Be warned – as you would expect, a film set in the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz is never going to provide an easy two hours, but director László Nemes’ work is so outstanding it is a vital piece of cinema and simply cannot be missed. The story of Saul, an inmate at the Polish death camp, takes place over a day in 1944. Saul (Géza Röhrig, pictured), is a prisoner who has been drafted into a work unit that has the terrible job of helping the camp’s SS units with mass murder, and then burning the bodies of those who have perished at the hand of this unimaginable evil.
His exposure to such violence has seemingly robbed his face and eyes of the power to react to such barbarity – but, as events show, his soul is very much alive. When he finds a child’s remains that he believes is his son, he hopes to find a Rabbi among his fellow inmates who can perform the right procedure to ensure he is laid to rest according to his faith. To be able to bring alive the horror of the events that affected millions through the eyes of one person is a masterful piece of storytelling. Nemes has done just that.
Brilliantly shot, subtly told, with performances that will live with you, Son Of Saul is simply the most devastating film of the year so far. It rightly has become an instant classic, wining a best foreign language film Oscar this year. Bravo to Camden-based film company Artificial Eye and Curzon for bringing it to the UK on a wide release.