By Liz Lopez
Fantastic Fest Review
Hungarian writer-director László Nemes feature debut, Son of Saul, (co-scripted with Clara Royer), was in competition at the Cannes Film Festival last year and was a feature screened at the 2015 Fantastic Fest in Austin. By now with several film reviews available over the last few months, people may have heard about this story during the Holocaust. A Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, Saul Auslander, is among the Jewish prisoners forced to assist the Nazis with the extermination they carried out. I have seen many films with stories about World War II, the Nazis and so much harm they did to so many. At this writing, scenes from the war horror in one film from 2008 have stayed with me since I viewed it then, and now, scenes from October 1944 in Auschwitz-Birkenau as Nemes presents in Son of Saul have also left an indelible memory. I highly recommend this film, but yet I know it is hard to view a film that is one hour and forty – seven minutes of war drama as the protagonist, Saul (Géza Röhrig) works in a crematorium and tries to find a rabbi to help provide a proper burial for a young boy’s body. The story, action and drama throughout earns a high rating and of course, all the nominations around the world for awards.
Röhrig was nominated by four critic’s associations or groups as Best, Best Lead or Most Promising Actor for his performance in this film. Just to name a few, Son of Saul has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the 41st annual César Awards – Best Foreign Film, British Independent Film Award for Best International Independent Film, Film Independent Spirit Award for the Best International Film and the Satellite Award for Best Foreign Language Film. László Nemes is nominated for The Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director.
There is no doubt that this film will stay with you long after you leave the theater.
Son of Saul will open in Austin on February 26th at the Arbor Cinema at Great Hills