Son of Saul

Mar 14 – 17 Rhinebeck










Winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, László Nemes’ directorial debut is respectfully restrained yet unflinching in its realism as it depicts a search for redemption in the midst of the horrors of the holocaust.

In the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp at the tail end of the Second World War, Saul Auslander is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul is shaken out of his deadened state when a young boy he retrieves from the chamber exhibits a brief flicker of life before dying. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames; find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish; and offer the boy a proper burial. As he scrambles through the camp, he barters and begs, and his quixotic project intersects with desperate plans that other prisoners are hatching. Nemes’ film orchestrates a tour de force of suspense, a swift symphony of collisions, coincidences, and reversals that is almost unbearably exciting. Placing the viewer in constant proximity to Saul, he restricts our vision to a very limited field, inferring the nightmarish world just off screen and breaking new ground in the representation of the Holocaust, as well as the fortitude of the human spirit that endured it.

*Academy Award winner: Best Foreign Language Film

“You will never shake this film off, ever, and that is a powerful and enriching thing.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

(Hungary / 2015 / Directed by László Nemes)
R / 107 mins.