Budapest, March 2 (MTI) – Presenting the Holocaust “from an internal point of view” in order to gain an understanding of what it was like to be a victim of the tragedy is the essence of the Academy Award-winning film Son of Saul, László Nemes Jeles, the film’s director, said on Wednesday.
“It is amazing to see how happy people are about the Oscar,” the director told a press conference in Budapest.
Nemes Jeles said he spoke with Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg both before and after Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, with the legendary filmmaker telling him that Son of Saul is “an important film” which had contributed to the collective remembrance of the Holocaust.
Lead actor Géza Rohrig said that even before the Oscar ceremony, he felt like he was in Los Angeles as “the Saul of 15 million [Hungarians]”.
The film’s cast and crew were touched by the amount of support they received going in to last Sunday’s ceremony, producer Gábor Sipos said.
The Academy Award topped off a highly impressive haul of accolades for Son of Saul, which include a Golden Globe for best foreign language film, the Grand Prix along with the International Federation of Film Critics prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, this year’s Independent Spirit Award for Best International Film, the critics’ prize at last year’s CinEast film festival in Luxembourg.
Zoltán Vági, the film’s historical consultant, announced at the press conference that the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives will launch the Children of Saul programme which will focus on identifying the names of the 100,000 Hungarian Jewish children exterminated at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in the early 1940s. László Nemes Jeles will be the chief patron of the programme.
Son of Saul takes place at the Auschwitz concentration camp and tells the story of Saul Auslaunder, a fictional Jewish member of the death camp’s Sonderkommando charged with aiding with the disposal of gas chamber victims.