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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Son of Saul aka "Saul fia" [Blu-ray]


(László Nemes, 2015)


Already Released on Blu-ray in Region 'A' by Sony:



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Hungarian National Film Fund

Video: Artificial Eye-Curzon / Lionsgate



Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:46:52.875

Disc Size: 45,070,150,448 bytes

Feature Size: 32,682,934,272 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 4th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Yiddish | German | Russian | Greek | Slovak | Polish | French | Hungarian | Hebrew 1995 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1995 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio Yiddish | German | Russian | Greek | Slovak | Polish | French | Hungarian | Hebrew 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit



English, none


Deleted Scene (1:57)
Behind the Scenes GoPro footage (3:28)
Q+A with
László Nemes (20:21)
Trailer (2:09)
Short Film: With a Little Patience (14:09)






Description: In Laszlo Nemes’s remarkable Holocaust drama, Son of Saul, there’s a minor character who risks his life secretly taking photographs of the corpses. There’s a passing suggestion from another prisoner that the photographer thinks his images might somehow be passed to an army that would then know to liberate the camp, but the photographs are more likely intended for history. Son of Saul is a film that knows nothing can be rescued from Auschwitz except memory.

Watching it is a harrowing experience, and the first 20 minutes or so are particularly difficult. The film is shot from the narrow perspective – and the narrowness is the only thing that makes it bearable – of Saul Auslander, a Hungarian Jew who works in the Sonderkommando that herds new prisoners into the “showers,” collects the victims’ clothing, moves the bodies to the crematorium and scrubs out the gas chamber before the next transport arrives. We see the reality of this gruesome job slightly out of focus, as though in Saul’s peripheral vision, as the camera always stays tight on Saul’s face. Often the sounds around him, and our own foreknowledge of the place, are what make the half-glimpsed scenes particularly wrenching.

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail located HERE



The Film:

The experience of evil and the experience of being in hell are what are offered by this devastating and terrifying film by László Nemes, set in the Auschwitz II-Birkenau death camp in 1944. This film would be an achievement for anyone, but for a first-time feature director it is stunning – something to compare with Elem Klimov’s Come and See. Son of Saul reopens the debate around the Holocaust and its cinematic thinkability, addresses the aesthetic and moral issues connected with creating a fiction within it and probes the nature of Wittgenstein’s axiom “whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent”.

Saul, played by the 48-year-old Hungarian actor Géza Röhrig, is a Jewish prisoner who has been made part of the Sonderkommando, inmates given tiny, temporary privileges in return for policing their own extermination. They must manage the day-to-day business of herding bewildered prisoners out of the trains and up to the very doors of the gas chambers and then removing the bodies, the chief task being to pacify the victims in advance with their simple presence, silently shoring up the Nazi soldiers’ reassuring lies about these being simply showers. They are bit-part players in a theatre of horror.

Excerpt from The Guardian located HERE

Son of Saul is one hell of a debut, with the emphasis on hell. It’s set entirely, and with pitiless, unyielding intensity, inside Auschwitz-Birkenau. This Best Foreign Film Oscar-winner starts as it means to continue – trained tight on a Hungarian-Jewish prisoner, Saul (Géza Röhrig), who has only been given a stay of execution because he’s a part of a Sonderkommando work unit.

His Faustian task is to help with the extermination of fellow Jews and the clean-up operation afterwards, bringing him face to face with horrors we can only imagine, even if they are ones we can frequently half-see, and very graphically hear.

Excerpt from The Telegraph located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Son of Saul looks excellent on Blu-ray from Artificial Eye/Curzon/Lionsgate. It was shot with a Arricam LT - a low weight, small 35mm camera. It is quite kinetic shooting - plenty of movement. The transfer is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate in the intended 1.37:1. Being a modern film the visuals are pristinely clean and the 1080P Blu-ray presentation is tight and, presumably, an accurate representation of theatrical showings.















Audio :

Lionsgate give the option of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround or a linear PCM 2.0 channel both 16-bit. The audio is as adept as the video transfer - lots of impacting pauses and subtle effect sounds. The score is by Hungarian composer László Melis and supports the film well. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B' disc.


Extras :

The significant extra is a 20-minute Q+A with László Nemes hosted by historian Nikolaus Wachsmann at Curzon Soho, April 2016. We also get a 15-minute short film by the Hungarian filmmaker Nemes entitled With a Little Patience about an office clerk as seen during her daily routine - all the little vibrations of her face. And a man, impatiently waiting for her, beyond the windows. There are also some Behind the Scenes GoPro footage, a short deleted scene and a trailer.



Son of Saul is a film you can't stop watching once invested by the narrative.  It's one of the more impacting films I have seen in years. Hours after watching - it still remains imbedded in your mind. Quite brilliant. This Blu-ray package is an easy recommendation. It can be a draining film experience and its vérité expression well realized. I can strongly recommend the film and owing it in your digital library.

Gary Tooze

June 11th, 2016

Already Released on Blu-ray in Region 'A' by Sony:



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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