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Son of Saul
26th October 2016 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm£4.25 - £5.25
Hungary, France, Israel, USA 2015, 107 mins, cert 15, subtitled
Director László Nemes, featuring Geza Rohrig, Levente Molnar, Urs Rech
This devastating and terrifying film by László Nemes is set in the Auschwitz II-Birkenau death camp in 1944. Saul, played by the 48-year-old Hungarian actor Géza Röhrig, is a Jewish prisoner who has been made part of the Sonderkommando. They must manage the day-to-day business of herding bewildered prisoners out of the trains and up to the very doors of the gas chambers and then removing the bodies. With staggering audacity, Son of Saul begins with something other, comparable movies would hardly dare approach even at the very end – the gas chamber itself. Here is where Saul discovers the body of a boy, whom he believes to be his son, and sets out to find a rabbi among the prisoners to give him a proper burial. Röhrig’s performance is transfixing, without ever drifting into the realm of actorly pretence. The final image of his face – transformed by events that may be real or hallucinatory – is extraordinary. Son of Saul reopens the debate around the Holocaust and its cinematic thinkability, addresses the aesthetic and moral issues connected with creating a fiction within it and probes the nature of Wittgenstein’s axiom “whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent”. (amended from Peter Bradshaw’s Guardian review)
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