For one Reddit user, Son of Saul holds the same level of impact as Schindler’s List. But, as they wrote, “whereas Schindler’s List is traumatic for what it showed, Son of Saul is equally traumatic for what it leaves to the viewer’s imagination.” The Hungarian film was released to critical acclaim in 2015, premiering at the Cannes Film Festival and winning the Grand Prix, before going on to win a BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Academy Award.
The film tells the story of a man named Saul Ausländer (Géza Röhrig), a prisoner at a concentration camp who is forced to be a Sonderkommando, or one of the people made to help dispose of the bodies of gas chamber victims — a horrific reality for many people during World War II. Son of Saul takes place over a day and a half after Saul sees a boy survive the gas chambers, only to be suffocated by a Nazi. Claiming the boy is his son, Saul makes it his mission to save the body from cremation and give him a proper Jewish burial. The story covers Saul’s search for a Jewish Rabbi to help him bury the boy, as other prisoners plan an uprising to get to the outside world proof of the atrocities being committed there so that they can receive help.
Son of Saul left critics in awe of its harrowing depiction of the Holocaust, with critics like Philip Kemp of Sight & Sound saying that while “it has sometimes been suggested that there’s little more to be said, in cinematic terms, about the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust, […] the single-minded power and visceral immediacy of [director László] Nemes’ achievement, rightly acclaimed and awarded, prove otherwise.”