Saul fia (original title)
Saul, played by the 48-year-old Hungarian actor Géza Röhrig, is a Jewish prisoner who has been made part of the Sonderkommando, inmates given tiny, temporary privileges in return for policing their own extermination.
They must manage the day-to-day business of herding bewildered prisoners out of the trains and up to the very doors of the gas chambers and then removing the bodies, the chief task being to pacify the victims in advance with their simple presence, silently shoring up the Nazi soldiers’ reassuring lies about these being simply showers. They are bit-part players in a theatre of horror.
With staggering audacity, Son of Saul begins with something other, comparable movies would hardly dare approach even at the very end – the gas chamber itself. Here is where Saul discovers the body of a boy, whom he believes to be his son, and sets out to find a rabbi among the prisoners to give him a proper burial.
He must do this in a series of furtive, enigmatic whispers with prisoners who are trying to concentrate on a planned uprising, using what they call “shiny” as bribes for information and material: valuables taken at enormous risk from the bodies of the dead.
Dir: László Nemes, 2016, UK, 1hr 30min
Stars: Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn