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Yet it isn’t a “subjective stance,” because we see him as a character and I didn’t want to reduce the film to a purely visual approach. Aesthetics, any exercise in style or virtuosity needed to be avoided.
Moreover, this man is the point of origin of a unique, obsessive and primitive story: he believes he has recognized his among the gas chamber victims and is henceforth determined to save his body from the ovens, find a rabbi to say Kaddish and bury him.
In the summer of 1944, it was running at full capacity: historians estimate that several thousand Jews were assassinated there every day.
During the course of their mission, the Sonderkommandos were given a relatively preferential treatment.
Saul only sees the object of his quest; this provides the film with its visual rhythm.
I just wanted an angle that would be specific, pared down, and to tell a story as simple and archaic as possible.
I chose the viewpoint of a man, Saul Ausländer, a Hungarian Jew, member of the Sonderkommando, and I strictly upheld this position: I show what he sees, no more and no less.
Idi i smotri (Come and see) by Elem Klimov (1985) was a great source of inspiration for me.
The movie follows a boy in 1943 on the Eastern front and stays with him in an organic manner through his hellish adventures.
They precisely describe, in the here and now, the “normal” functioning of a death factory, with its organization, its rules, work cadences, shifts, hazards, and its maximum productivity.