Friday, December 15, 2017
JEFF OF THE CINEFILES & UNFINISHED BUSINESS: HALL OF FAME: FILE #0050: SON OF SAUL (2016)
Directed By: Nemes Laszlo
Written By: Nemes Laszlo & Clara Royer
Cinematography By: Matyas Erdley
Editor: Matthieu Taponier
Cast: Geza Rohrig, Levente Molnar, Urs Rechn
Two days in the life of Saul Auslander, Hungarian prisoner working as a member of the Sonderkommando at one of the Auschwitz Crematoriums who, to bury the corpse of a boy he takes for his son, tries to carry out his impossible deed: salvage the body and find a rabbi to bury it. While the Sonderkommando is to be liquidated at any moment, Saul turns away of the living and their plans of rebellion to save the remains of a son he never took care of when he was still alive.
One of the more revolutionary aspects of the film is how for most of the film the camera stays close on the face of the less Saul. So that we see and experience things just as he does. Either from filling right behind or from his point of view or where we might not witness the atrocities we see the drama play out on his face from seeing the horror, also we see glimpses of action as it happens around him though never really focused on any of it. Though we know what is happening. So that the film not action ever really stop. Even if the focus is on the character. The scene and background to on as normal even though in a conventional film that would be where the camera focuses on and dramatizes to the audience. As with many holocaust films.
The film is atmospheric. Filled with danger Around every corner. Just outside of what we can see and also we can see the death in almost every shot or at least a glimpse of it in the edge or background in each scene as dead bodies are dealt with, also as in death seems to have throughout. No one can Escape it. as a 40mm lens is used. In this film answers are never given easily.
As the film goes along it exposes all of the inner workings of the camp as the main character goes on a single quest and is determined to carry out his personal mission at all costs.
While we see the stakes and challenges he faces throughout m. The hardships he would normally face are huge in survival. So you can imagine the difficulty in sneaking around and trying to get his mission done.
This film is definitely an experience and quite moving as we are there every step of the way
As in one scene where a character practically has to choose from his team of workers who he doesn't need. Which means a death sentence practically do all the names he lists isn't treated here like a dramatic moment, no compelling music. It is introduced and treated more matter of factly. --Though provides a clear timeline. Hard to believe that this film only takes place over two days. As it feels so epic.
Seems like it was filmed all in a bunch of different one take scenes. As the story goes on it eases up In it's style allowing for a little more wider view. As at times the camera doesn't seem to move. Then at other times barely seems to stay still.
This film ends up becoming the antithesis of the movie LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL. Not a heroic tale, but a very human one.
I went into this film blind. Knew it was a film about he holocaust but not how deeply it went. Not only into the subject matter but the overall story. Which is how I suggest most who haven't seen it already watch the film. If not keep reading.
While also having a side plot about a revolution and striking back in the midst not knowing who to truly trust.
The film is naturalistic all the way through. vivid and not necessarily a full fledged war film. As things certainly happen to the character most of the actions of the film happen around him As he is our main focus. We do witness certain acts more matter of factory but only because he does. He is an ingredient of the overall situation of the camp.
The film is haunting and manipulative to a degree as every action seems heightened by affect and design.
The film is harrowing, exhausting and engrossing with the help of imagined sound design. You are bought right Into the heart of the story so that you fully are capturing the experience the film depicts of the horrors all Around. Leaving us to only imagine what we don't see. So that we have a pretty grim realistic reality. Unfortunately we are all too familiar of what happened the horrible events.
Technically a marvel. Emotionally shows humanity and the results of the choices we make. How they can not only affect us, but those around you. At times conversation comes along as it is just as imbalanced as the camera. Though not beautiful In the conventional sense. The film is perfectly captured, filmed and framed. A good companion piece with the film COME AND SEE
Though a smaller story it never feels that way and allows is an intimacy with the characters and the action.