Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Son of Saul 

Wednesday, Jan 13 2016
Comments

László Nemes's Son of Saul is the stuff of nightmares. (That's a compliment.) At the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration-extermination camp, Saul (Géza Röhrig) is part of the Sonderkommando, prisoners who were forced to assist with the mass slaughters. Convinced that a boy who briefly survived the gas chamber — and is subsequently killed so his body can be examined — is his son, Saul sets out to find a rabbi who'll perform a proper burial, while all around him, conspirators plot the real-life prisoner uprising of Oct. 7, 1944. Whether the boy truly is his son is irrelevant, because Son of Saulis less about the narrative and more about what Saul himself sees and hears and endures. There are comparatively few edits, and Röhrig is almost always in the narrow 1:1 frame, often shot from behind. He never quite fills it — the horror is always lurking around the edges — although we hear far more than we see, and the sound design is almost more important than the visuals. In those respects, Son of Saulhas similarities to Alejandro González Iñarritú's The Revenant (another compliment). While the former is claustrophobic where the latter is expansive, both are about lone men traveling through Hell on impossible quests. They have little chance of finding redemption, but it wouldn't really be Hell otherwise.

Tags:

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly

Comments


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"