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Saul fia (2015)
A very well-done film about a topic that has been done many times over.
I, to be honest, after watching the trailer was not expecting to see any new regarding the Holocaust. After the opening shot, I was taken away from the 21st Century and was transformed to the terrible Autumn of 1944 inside a concentration/execution camp. The first impression is how brilliant the cinematography is - in the film we get to experience the horrors from what the main character sees and what is immediately around him. I noticed the background noise and voices of the German soldiers - even though this film is in Hungarian, only some of the dialogue is in my native language. I felt as though watching a Terrence Malick film where one hears limited dialogue from the standpoint of what our central character would hear. The hero of our story is responsible for ushering in new Jewish prisoners from the crowded trains into the showers where they will be gased then removing their naked, lifeless bodies to the ovens. He finds a young boy who survives this horror only to die shortly afterwards. It becomes his mission to have a proper burial and to find a rabbi in the camp. Since those who admitted to being rabbis were often killed immediately, finding one proves to be a momentous task. Through dealing with others in his group who want to preserve the memories of what's going on in the camps through photos and burying letters to obtaining chemicals for a prison revolt, Saul finds somebody to assist, but his time may be running out as for he and many others time working has run out and they too will be killed. Saul must deal with death daily, but it's his goal to preserve his "sons" body or at least that's what many in audience are lead to believe. I saw the film with an audience who did not comprehend the nuisances or mission of what's going on. Attention, Spoilers below!!!
In his troubled mind, he thinks the found boy is his son, that's why he try to take care of a small funeral with a rabbi. In reality, he has lost his mind in those several months in Auschwitz! Since one of his fellow sufferer tells him multiple times, that he has no son but he does not care or believe in that. Or after so many sufferings, his mind just tries to set normality in something, instead of giving up. The final scene is brilliant - after escaping the camp with the covered body of this child, he starts hallucination about himself (as a child) came to him and smiles to him. The camera now follows his child alter ego running through the forest and we can see as the German soldiers arrives to their mew and hear their weapons shooting. The child disappear, camera stops moving. The end. Brilliant! Rare and very smart experience straight from my former country. Congrats for the first time director László Nemes and lead actor Géza Röhrig!