Son of Saul: Premiere, Embassy of HungaryShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
With accolades and awards coming thick and fast Son of Saul is expected to win an Academy Award for best Foreign Language Film. A premiere screening at Palace Electric as a guest of the Embassy of Hungary with pre screening hospitality and high expectations where the reality was extraordinary, compelling and emotionally draining.
Rez Bodonyi, introduced by Ambassador of Hungary Attila Gruber, was given the task of explaining the background story of the production and difficulties for Son of Saul, with first time director Laszlo Nemes trying internationally before receiving funding in Hungary. An odious comparison but Mad Max was made for $100 million, Son of Saul for $1.5 million.
35mm film was used, the music mix is digital and very powerful and the ‘special style’ is initially frustrating and subsequently what makes this film the ‘human face’ of a story that is not about the Holocaust but about one man, Saul played brilliantly by Geza Rohig, and his determination to find a Rabbi to give a young Jewish boy a proper burial in the unspeakable concentration camp that was Auschwitz in 1944.
Filmed almost entirely from Saul’s point of view, the out of focus beginning is confronting for visual perception but when Saul sharply fills the screen it is his face that impacts and the tension and tumult begins with this Jewish ‘Sonderkommando’. The intensity of the herding of naked people to the gas chamber and the removal of their bodies is mitigated by the out of focus method for the background, but the emotional impact is not. The set design we were told is an exact replica of Auschwitz, but you don’t see nor perceive any sense of size, or the structures that made this place of horror so reviled. Saul is your focus,his is the face to remember. And it is unforgettable.