Son of Saul

2015

Drama / War

9
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 96%
IMDb Rating 7.5 10 42083

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 15, 2020 at 07:10 AM

Director

Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
983.92 MB
1280*534
English
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 47 min
P/S 126/148
1.98 GB
1920*800
English
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 47 min
P/S 137/200

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ClaytonDavis 10 / 10

The Gifts of László Nemes and Géza Röhrig

We simply don't deserve László Nemes, the first-time writer/director of Hungary's submission for the Oscar's Foreign Language category, "Son of Saul." Nemes vacuums everything we think we know about filmmaking and the Holocaust, and gives it a raw, intense, and fresh outlook that we haven't seen since Roman Polanski's "The Pianist," perhaps even Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List." Not to mention, he is thoroughly aided and indebted to the stunning and remarkable talent of Géza Röhrig, in his feature debut. The two simply dance circles around other films and performances seen in this year, with an authentic and genuine approach to art, that we just don't get to experience too often. I'm in awe.

"Son of Saul" tells the story of Saul Ausländer, a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large- scale extermination. In October 1944, Saul discovers the corpse of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkomando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task.

Its direction like Nemes that should make the world very optimistic about the future of cinema. If we have filmmakers like him, getting in the trenches of history and the human spirit, and beckoning its awakening into our souls, we should be so lucky to have him display the beauty and evil of the world in such a provocative and engaging manner. His choices in which to shoot the film, and portray one of the most heinous acts in the history of our existence is just downright scintillating. "Son of Saul" plays as if we're watching a disturbing, noxious, and depraved home movie about a time in which we never want to see. From a near first-person perspective, we enter the revolting world of Auschwitz-Birkenau. He uses out of focus camera work, to not bath in the bloodshed, but wallow in the psyche of a man, that is desperate for purpose. It's the single best direction of the year. I'd go so far to say this could be the single best direction seen this decade. His script, along with co- writer Clara Royer, is so painstakingly simple but echoes decades of oppression in its short, respectful run time.

Don't call him a "poet by profession" because newcomer Géza Röhrig doesn't believe in the word profession. There's only artists. Géza Röhrig is an artist, of which I haven't seen in some time. With little words, he says countless and devastating things about what he's feeling and what we know about ourselves. He doesn't use cheap tricks to engage the audiences like "really intense face" or "really scared moving." Röhrig displays the numb, almost disengaged weight of the world in every physical and vocal movement he chooses to exhibit. It's a flawless, masterful performance that we need more of in this cinematic world.

Cinematographer Mátyás Erdély is your next great craftsman to watch, even though making his mark on films like "The Quiet Ones" and "Miss Bala." He frames close-ups that Danny Cohen himself, would hope to achieve in his next collaboration with Tom Hooper. He stays with a person, a scene, a moment, so intelligently, and so vibrantly, he places each one of us in the rooms, full of fear, and full of hopelessness. The subtle yet effective music by László Melis is sonorous but the Sound team is what really needs their praise. Tamás Dévényi (Production Soundmixer), Tamás Székely (Sound Editor), and Tamás Zányi (Sound Designer) create monstrous and dynamic effects that essentially become its own focal point of the story. We are listening intently, desperately, and just fearful at every nick, boom, and cry we come in contact with. It's something everyone should and will notice and applaud.

"Son of Saul" sneaks up on you. It's too important and critical to our cinematic landscape to overlooked or forgotten. I can't imagine a more dour and sullen experience this year that fills my heart with this much adoration. It stands toe-to-toe with most Holocaust films created in and before my lifetime. It may be the definitive one this millennium.

Reviewed by Teyss 7 / 10

A poignant but debatable attempt to film Auschwitz

Movies about the Shoah (or Holocaust) cannot be solely discussed on the same grounds as other movies e.g. plot, acting, direction, camera, settings, etc. They raise questions about history, remembrance and ethics.

Some persons debate the fact that Shoah CAN be filmed and, if the answer is positive, HOW it should be filmed. A "bad" movie (in terms of plot, acting, etc.) about Shoah is not just tedious, it could be considered as a lack of respect to the victims and survivors of camps and ghettos, as well as to their families. Even a "good" movie that inaccurately depicts Shoah could be considered as a lack of respect. For instance, director Claude Lanzmann (documentaries "Shoah", "Sobibor", etc.) strongly rejected "Schindler's List" even though in pure cinematographic terms it is compelling. For information the same Lanzmann approved of "Son of Saul".

However these two questions (can and how) mainly result from a more fundamental question: WHY film Shoah? The most obvious answer is history and remembrance. But then why not only film documentaries (above-mentioned Lanzmann, "Night and Fog" by Resnais, etc.) and write books (Primo Levi, Semprun, etc.)? Do we really need filmed fiction about Shoah?

The strength about fiction is it can convey more emotion, but that is also its danger: can any emotion render the absolute horror? Are we not fooled by our empathy when maybe there is no possible empathy? Of course the distinction between documentary and fiction is not so clear-cut, since documentaries use artistic features (editing, commentary, sometimes music, etc.), while fictions can be filmed as documentaries. This is where "Son of Saul" comes in and I apologise for this long, but I think necessary, introduction.

First, we cannot classify this movie as a mere "Description of a day in Auschwitz" or a "Movie where Shoah is a secondary element", but fundamentally as a movie about Shoah, by its ambition, its clear historical references and its intensity. I will not detail the plot, this is available elsewhere. For those of you who have not seen it, it is a very violent, disturbing movie (rated R in the US but I would not recommend it to anybody below 17 even accompanied by an adult).

"Son of Saul" avoids the pitfall of voyeurism by focusing on the main character, Saul, and mainly showing what he sees. The dead bodies are mostly blurred, the cries are mostly distant. However this radical precept which is carried throughout all the movie (except for the last few minutes) almost constitutes a second-degree voyeurism where the director constantly seems to affirm "Look how I avoid showing you fully what is happening".

Hence this strength of subjective view almost becomes a weakness as we empathise with Saul, notably his desire to bury what he thinks is his son, but less with other characters, even when his quest jeopardises the rebellion project. We do see to some extent how prisoners survive and die in the camp, but as a background to Saul's obsessive idea. Is the dead boy really his son? Is the rabbi really a rabbi or does he just want Saul's protection? Where is the body? Will they manage to bury it? So in a way the fiction of Saul blurs the documentary dimension of Auschwitz.

In most regards, "Son of Saul" is historically accurate: the inhumane conditions, the constant struggle, the fights between prisoners, the role of the Kapos, the barbaric SS, the bargains, etc. As a side note, it also convincingly reconstitutes the way one of the authentic and very rare pictures from Auschwitz could have been taken by insiders (the pile of bodies outside).

However actual conditions were certainly even more dramatic than those depicted: in general prisoners were much thinner and weaker, their clothes were dirty rags, their morale was very low, every moment was a tragedy. Also some elements cannot be shown easily: how do you film hunger, cold, pain, illness, despair? Can we blame the movie for not showing the full extent of the horror? I am not sure, because it might actually not be possible and even if it were, it would barely be watchable.

It is difficult to rate such a movie. Should we rate a movie about Shoah? Considering the artists take the responsibility of making and showing it and hence of being exposed to criticism, probably we may, if we are careful enough to distinguish between aesthetics and ethics.

For its audacity and cinematographic qualities "Son of Saul" probably rates 8 or 9/10: direction and acting are outstanding. For what we could call the "Shoah ethics" that I tried to describe in the introduction, I think it rates 6/10: a poignant but debatable attempt. Again, I am not sure any fiction could do much better. This is a personal point of view and I fully understand some persons were compelled and would rate it 10/10, or that others reject the movie with a 1/10. It really depends how one's own feelings react to such extreme images and artistic vision.

Reviewed by nnagyi 8 / 10

Very well-researched movie

I do not understand how the previous commentators were able to add their opinion, since I saw the very first screening of the movie outside Cannes in the M?vész arts cinema of Budapest tonight, on May 29, 2015.

The movie was followed by a discussion and Q&A session with the artists.

Director Nemes aimed to create a movie that is deprived of the post-war artifacts present in most Holocaust movies.

For this goal, he and his staff made substantial historical research to make the smallest details truthful. The shooting took place from less than $2 million, in a very short period (28 days). French, Israeli and German investors did not give money for the movie for fear of a loss.

As the director mentioned, a movie of this length is spliced together form 300 to 700 cuts these days. Theirs required only 80. You are in the camp, you are Saul Auslander. There is utter confusion, you do not know what awaits you in the next second. This is a reality movie with no happy ending that shakes you.

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