After, they would remove and burn the corpses all the while cleaning the space. During the course of their mission, the Sonderkommandos were given a relatively preferential treatment. Having gotten a taste of college life, a drastically changed farm girl returns home for Thanksgiving break. If we have filmmakers like him, getting in the trenches of history and the human spirit, and beckoning its awakening into our souls, we should be so lucky to have him display the beauty and evil of the world in such a provocative and engaging manner. Looking for a rabbi brings him to come across other Sonderkommando groups and convoys of Jews headed for death. Nemes elaborately stages a graphic, large-scale reconstruction of the workings of Auschwitz crowds led into the gas chambers, piles of naked bodies, summary executions —yet, by and large, obscures these sights.
At some point, Saul comes across members of the resistance who are trying to photograph the extermination process. The movie follows a boy in 1943 on the Eastern front and stays with him in an organic manner through his hellish adventures. And it all had to be accomplished very quickly because other prisoner convoys were already on the way. After, they would remove and burn the corpses all the while cleaning the space. The camp, however, is perceived through the prism of Saul's journey.
I didn't understand for many years. The actual documents were found years later. He came to mind for the role probably because he is someone who is in constant motion, his facial features and his body are always changing. His parents, a stage director and a professor, were opponents of the communist regime. In 2011, he worked on the project as an artist in residence at the Cinefondation Résidence du Festival. That focus indeed accounts for the power of this first feature by Nemes, a former assistant to Béla Tarr.
A part of my family was assassinated in Auschwitz. I met him several years ago. As the Sonderkomando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task. After 66 weeks in release, the final box-office on Sept. In the summer of 1944, it was running at full capacity: historians estimate that several thousand Jews were assassinated there every day. It also required filming with the same lens, a 40mm, a restricted aspect ratio, and not something like scope which widens one's field of vision.
The film strictly follows Saul's movements. . The Sonderkommando, an opening caption explains, were prisoners dragooned into assisting with the daily business of execution. What can such a mission possibly mean in Auschwitz, especially on the part of a man pressed into the service of murder? 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. He has lived in New York since 2000. It is impossible to tell his age, for he is at once old and young, but also handsome and ugly; ordinary and remarkable, deep and impassive, quick-witted and slow.
Then, the time came for me to reconnect with that specific part of my family's history. They describe their daily tasks, how the work was organized, the rules by which the camp was run and Jews exterminated, as well as how they put together a certain form of resistance. The use of shallow focus photography, the constant presence of off screen elements in the narration of extended takes, the limited visual and factual information the main character and the viewer can have access to - these were the foundations of our visual and narrative strategy. For two years, he worked as Béla Tarr's assistant and subsequently studied film directing in New York. Our aim was to take an entirely different path from the usual approach of historical dramas, their gigantic scope and multi-point of view narration. Finally, we received the very helpful support of historians like Gideon Greif, Philippe Mesnard and Zoltán Vági.
It was important not to re-produce it or polish it. He then directed three short films, notably With a Little Patience, which was chosen for the 2007 Venice International Film Festival. And it all had to be accomplished very quickly because other prisoner convoys were already on the way. Circulating through the camp eventually leads him to take the same path as the resistance members. In the film, we witness an attempted rebellion, which in fact took place in 1944, the only armed revolt in the history of Auschwitz. No one has all the elements in hand; everyone has fragments with which they attempt to construct their vision of the whole. Aesthetics, any exercise in style or virtuosity needed to be avoided.
As for Saul, he chooses another form of revolt, which may seem irrelevant in this context. A reference to the book by the art historian and philosopher Georges-Didi Huberman. In the movie's first scene, everything is a blur and then a face suddenly appears - it is Saul's. How did the idea for Son of Saul come to you? In '87 he moved to Kraków to study Polish Literature at the Jagiellonian University. They attest to the extermination, they constitute evidence, and ask essential questions. Did you forbid yourself anything? In such a dark story, I also believe there is a great deal of hope: in a total loss of morality, value and religion, a man who starts listening only to a faint voice within him to carry out a seemingly vain and useless deed finds morality and survival inside. For us, it was a visual target for the camera.
In Birkenau, the Polish resistance was able to get one or a few cameras to the Sonderkommando in order to document the extermination. He's been working in the crematorium for four months: as a protective reflex, he no longer notices the horror, and so I relegated the horror to the background, blurred or off screen. The sound designer, Tamás Zányi, who has worked on all my films, and I decided to work on a sound that was very simple, raw and yet quite complex and multidimensional. I met him several years ago. We did a lot of work with the actors on their body language. Seemingly recognizing the boy as his own son—although other prisoners later question whether he really has one—Saul resolves to find a rabbi to ensure proper burial of the boy.
What did its members do? The camp, however, is perceived through the prism of Saul's journey. Thus, the Inferno we journey through cannot be entirely assessed by the eyes of the viewers, only partially reconstructed in their minds. Sound can superimpose over the image, at times even taking its place, because some images are missing and rightfully so. All of this implied a lighting technique that was diffused, industrial and as simple as possible. He stays with a person, a scene, a moment, so intelligently, and so vibrantly, he places each one of us in the rooms, full of fear, and full of hopelessness. The use of shallow focus photography, the constant presence of off screen elements in the narration of extended takes, the limited visual and factual information the main character and the viewer can have access to - these were the foundations of our visual and narrative strategy.