Son of Saul (2015)
February 11, 2022 9:44 PM - Subscribe

A Jewish-Hungarian concentration camp prisoner sets out to give a child he mistook for his son a proper burial.
posted by josephtate (2 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have never had a movie experience this raw and emotionally devastating save perhaps Come and See. It is good, very good, people should watch it, but so brutal I don't know if I could manage a second time.

Compared to other aspects of the Holocaust there has not been a ton of research published about Sonderkommandos, at least not that I've found, partly because there were so few Sonderkommando survivors and probably partly because it is such a difficult topic for a lot of people to deal with. My first exposure to them was through the father's description of one in Maus. It was sympathetic and I did not know until later that they've been called collaborators--that would honestly never have occurred to me and I think that it is not anybody's place to use that term unless they were there and not as a perpetrator (i.e. Rudolf Höss's opinions can go fuck right off). It is really not up for debate. To me their first-hand accounts, whether interviews or rescued diaries, describe experiences more agonizing and harrowing than anything else I've read, and that's from a history that is defined by agonizing and harrowing experiences. People on the outside who opine "well, I wouldn't have done it" are assholes obsessed with maintaining their self-conception and have never given a single thought to how humans actually react to extreme trauma.
posted by Anonymous at 12:56 PM on February 13, 2022

I'm in complete agreement with you, schroedinger. It's useful, I think, to contrast the film with Schindler's List. Spielberg's work is inarguably a very good movie, but he can't get out of his own way as an auteur, inserting little pops of color, a precise framing of scenes. The result is a film that is memorable for its shots, creating something that is aesthetically beautiful, even when its subject is horrifying.

László Nemes reverses this entirely, setting out very deliberately not to make a beautiful or appealing film. By sticking so claustrophobically close to Saul over the course of a single day and a half, the film narrows the field of vision to a singular experience, and thus increases the horror. There's essentially no soundtrack: all is ambient noise and dialogue in eight different languages. The result created one of the most intense experiences I've never had from watching a film... and, like you, not one I think I can repeat any time soon.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 9:52 PM on February 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

« Older Movie: Teenage Mutant Ninja Tu...   |  Movie: Antlers... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments