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1 item from 2015

Cannes Film Review: ‘Son of Saul’

14 May 2015 3:09 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Possessed by the same single-minded intensity that drives its protagonist’s every step, “Son of Saul” plunges the viewer into a hell that exists beyond the limits of comprehension or representation. A terrifyingly accomplished first feature for 38-year-old Hungarian writer-director Laszlo Nemes, this indelible portrait of Auschwitz in the latter days of WWII sticks to the limited vantage of a Jewish prisoner who, immune to either hope or fear, becomes bent on carrying out a single, desperate act of moral survival. The result is as grim and unyielding a depiction of the Holocaust as has yet been made on that cinematically overworked subject, a masterful exercise in narrative deprivation and sensory overload that recasts familiar horrors in daringly existential terms. Further festival bookings, post-screening arguments and a narrow commercial life are assured for this rare debut film to secure a competition berth at Cannes.

Boldly courting the kind of debate »

- Justin Chang

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