Movie: Son of Saul

I normally find Holocaust films too difficult to watch, but this film received such glowing reviews that I decided to see it.  In the opening scenes, the camera focuses on Saul Auslander, a Sonderkommander at the Auschwitz crematorium. It remains focussed, intently and intensely, on Saul while everything around him is blurred.  When the camera isn’t trained on him, it shifts behind him, as if you’re looking over his shoulder, seeing through his eyes.  The noise is deafening; the shouted orders to keep hurrying are relentless, and the moral enormity of what he is being asked to do is overwhelming. The blurred vision is a protection for Saul and for us as viewers.  I must confess that I came out not really knowing whether Saul’s claims were true or not, and whether he was mad or not – I suspect that he was.  The real power of this film is the way it locates you as a viewer in a bleak and confronting nightmare. I can’t at all say that I ‘enjoyed’ it, but it is utterly memorable.

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