Diario Judío México - Two films about the Holocaust and its aftermath have made the cut to compete for best foreign-language film. They were selected from among entries from 80 countries vying for Oscar honors, according to an announcement Thursday evening by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Both entries, “Son of Saul” and “Labyrinth of Lies,” are among the critics’ favorites to garner an Academy Award — indicating, once again, that the Shoah retains its grip on the minds and souls of both international filmmakers and the members of the academy who cast their votes.
Last year, the foreign-language Oscar went to the Polish movie “Ida,” which followed the path of a devout young woman raised in a convent and about to take her vows as a nun. Suddenly, she learns that her parents were Jews who perished in the Holocaust and sets out to rediscover her roots.
In Hungary’s “Son of Saul,” winner of the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Saul Auslander is a member of the Sonderkommando at Auschwitz-Birkenau, forced to cremate the bodies of fellow prisoners gassed by the Waffen SS. As he goes about his ghastly task, he thinks he recognizes his son among the bodies, unexpectedly clinging to life for a few extra minutes.
With the Sonderkommando men planning a rebellion, Saul vows that he will save the child’s body from the flames and find a rabbi to say Kaddish at a proper burial.
Saul is portrayed by Geza Rohrig, born in Budapest and founder of an underground punk band under Communist rule. Moving to New York, he studied at a Hasidic yeshiva and graduated from the Conservative moment’s Jewish Theological Seminary.
The film is also nominated for a Golden Globe Award.