An uncompromising account of the life in a Nazi concentration camp, Son of Saul tells the story about finding hope in the darkest moments of human history.
October 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Saul Ausländer is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the corpse of a boy he takes for his son. Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial.
"I have always found movies about the camps frustrating. They attempt to build stories of survival and heroism, but in my mind they are in fact recreating a mythical conception of the past. The Sonderkommando accounts are on the contrary concrete, present and tangible. They precisely describe, in the here and now, the “normal” functioning of a death factory, with its organization, its rules, work cadences, shifts, hazards, and its maximum productivity. In fact, the SS used the word Stück (parts) when speaking about corpses. Corpses were produced in that factory. These accounts allowed me to see it all through the eyes of the extermination camps’ damned."
- László Nemes
Born in Budapest in 1977, Nemes spent his adolescence and young adulthood in Paris, having followed his mother who started a new life in the French capital in 1989. He first studied history and political studies, then cinema at the Sorbonne. While shooting The Man from London (2007) as Béla Tarr’s assistant, Nemes came across a book about Sonderkommandos, on which he based Son of Saul, his feature debut.