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Son of Saul

(Hungarian with subtitles) – story of Saul, who is one of the members of a group of Jews (Sonderkommando) who were responsible for participating in extinction of other Jews. At the very beginning, the film tells us that this group only extended their lives a few months and were killed and replaced by others. Saul recognizes that one of the boys who died was his son (or is it?), and the movie is the story of the choices he is forced to make as he strives to provide a proper burial for him. There have been many films about the holocaust, but this one is particularly intense. It is shot almost entirely in close-up, which provides a very eerie feeling of being intimately connected psychologically and emotionally to what is going on. During much of the film, the camera is focused on his eyes, and what goes on around him in the background is blurred, and you hear the screams and bullets and it all feels a bit maddening at times. I thought what the director did with the camerawork was brilliant (although it has a home-video feel, which means it shakes and bounces a lot). Big thumbs up for a movie that is very intense and brings yet another experience of the holocaust to life. I also liked the way it ended; there is an ambiguity in the story that resolves in a very unique way. (2015; 5 stars)

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