A film about a harrowing tale of the Holocaust won the award for the best foreign film at the 88th Oscars ceremony.
“Son of Saul,” the harrowing drama about the Sonderkommando at the Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, won the best foreign language film award at the Oscars Sunday night.
The Hungarian film from first-time director Laszlo Nemes was largely expected to win the prize and has been sweeping many of the awards from the Golden Globes to the Independent Spirit Awards.
“Even in the darkest hours of mankind there’s the voice within us that allows us to remain human,” said Nemes after accepting the award.
Nemes also thanked his lead actor Géza Röhrig, who was in nearly every frame of the film as a Jewish concentration camp worker on one day in the camp where he becomes obsessed with giving a fallen child, who he believes to be his son, a proper burial.
Speaking after receiving the Golden Globe Award, Nemes told the audience in his acceptance comments that “the Holocaust has become, over the years, an abstraction. For me, it’s more of a face, a human face. Let us not forget this face.”
Nemes, who is Jewish, told Anthem Magazine last year in Cannes, that the writers “were tired of the usual representation of the Holocaust. We were just sick of it. We tried to design a story, a film, that doesn’t function the same way and we tried to break away from codes. The film was born out of the frustration and the need to talk about that. Then we came across the material and the Sonderkommando writings that sort of mapped out the inner thinkings of these workers. From that, we got the one-liner for the story out of the blue. This guy finds a body and there’s a moral dilemma: What is he supposed to do? That’s how the project started.”
“Son of Saul’s” strongest competition was from France’s “Mustang,” a Turkish-language film about the life of five young sisters living under sexist conditions in Turkey, also from a first-time director and the only female director nominated for a narrative film, Deniz Gamze Erguven.
Also nominated were Colombia’s “Embrace of the Serpent,” Jordan’s “Theeb,” and Denmark’s “A War.”
This is the second win in this category for Hungary — the country won once before in 1981 for “Mephisto.”
Last year’s winner was the black and white Polish drama “Ida,” about a woman in 1962 trying to decide whether or not to become a nun.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff