Oscar 2016: Cannes Grand Prix Winner ‘Son of Saul’ is First Foreign Language Submission

Son of Saul

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

After a record 83 countries submitted films in the Best Foreign Language category at the Oscars last year, Hungary has officially kicked off this year’s submissions with the Grand Prix winner from this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Laszlo Nemes‘s Son of Saul.

Set in October 1944, at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Son of Saul follows Saul Ausländer (Géza Röhrig), a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the corpse of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial.

The film received rave reviews out of the festival and was thought to be a prime contender for the Palme d’Or, which eventually went to Jacques Audiard‘s Dheepan.

Sony Classics has picked up Son of Saul for distribution later this year, no release date has yet been set.

As far as is known, Son of Saul is the first official submission for this year’s Foreign Language race at the Oscars, so while the page is rather bare, I have officially opened the Foreign Language tracking page right here. The page will update throughout the rest of the year as more submissions are announced.