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Saul fia (2015)
This is not a Holocaust movie
After the news about the movie's success in Cannes, there was a lot of conversation about whether we need "yet another" movie about the Holocaust. Still, as I watched the movie, I have realized that the main subject of it is not the Holocaust itself, but rather the human and his choices between morality and necessities, between family and strangers, between dead and alive. And, this is that makes this movie a perfect 10 for me: the painfully precise reconstruction of the mass murder and the almost PoV-esque, brutally relivable presentation of Auschwitz's everyday is just the beginning, just the setting. Still, I cannot overemphasize it that the reconstruction feels so realistic thanks to the filming style (the viewer remains so close to Saul, the protagonist, that almost smells him), the acting (that is, basically showing empty shells of seemingly living people in most of the movie) and the details (people using myriad of languages, mainly Yiddish to communicate, for example).
So, if Holocaust is just the setting, what is it really about then? It reminded me of a Greek drama with a protagonist, who has big choices with tragic consequences, with very clear dilemmas. With a big difference that you cannot hope of a divine intervention at the end although as a viewer, I can understand if somebody hopes that some kind of happy ending will close the movie, after all, some kind of (even unreal) hope makes the members of the Sonderkommando alive as well.
If you see a "Holocaust movie", you end up wondering about how this could happen (and why is it happening again and again). In Saul's Son, you will be haunted by the pictures of the killings and by the partly banal practicalities related of it, but the main question will be: what would have YOU done, not as a Jew, but as someone who is on the blurry borderline between victims and collaborators, as a parent, as a comrade as a HUMAN?
and that makes it way more than "just" a (quite revolutionary) Holocaust movie for me.
Recommended for anyone who feels like 110 minutes of pain (it is, really, painful to watch) is worth to have an experience of visiting some dark edges of our humanity.
Although partly set in Lisbon, this is essentially a Budapest movie that is finally able to show how does it feel to be a young adult in Hungary's capital.
"For some inexplicable reason"'s real strength lies in its honestly - it doesn't feel like a bigger budget art movie, rather you feel like roaming around with your friends on the streets of your hometown. You may make some detours or find some odd details that may not add up to a thorough story on the way, but that is how real life works, isn't it?
So what to expect when you meet those friends? You will laugh sometimes, you will be sad for a while, you will recall your own experiences (especially if you are twenty-something or from Central Europe)... and I guess you will recall some scenes and thoughts from the movie even days later.
Surgeon general's warning: watching this movie may make you want to visit Budapest. Avoid it if your normal diet consists solely of Hollywood movie.