With its selection at the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Laszlo Nemes' SON OF SAUL became the first Hungarian film to win an Oscar since István Szabó’s MEPHISTO in 1981.
During his acceptance speech, director László Nemes shared the award with the film’s lead actor Géza Röhrig, who plays tormented sonderkommando Saul at a Nazi death camp and who risks his life to ensure a proper burial for one of the prisoners that is thought to be his son. "Even in the darkest hours of mankind there might be a voice within us that allows us to remain human. That’s the hope of this film," said Nemes. VIDEO
Son of Saul premiered in May at the Festival de Cannes, where it won the Grand Prix alongside other important recognations awarded by the independent juries. It also won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, the first Hungarian film to win the award, and took the Best Int'l Film's Independent Spirit Award one day before the Oscars.
Son of Saul is the most important success story after a fundamental shake-up of the country's national film subsidy system. Vajna described Hungary's winning the Oscar as "a unique experience. The film is fantastic," he said. "For Hungary, it is a unique accomplishment that hasn't happened in the past three decades". (Read more in The Hollywood Reporter's "Oscars: Hungary Celebrates Foreign-Language Win" )
Looking ahead, Nemes has already started working on his next movie along with the Son of Saul team of filmmakers. Called Sunset, the pre-World War I “dark fairy tale” will be set in Budapest, with many scenes of Hungary’s capital to be shot on location in varied districts; casting is currently underway, including for the female lead character named Éva. Meanwhile, with the momentum of this Oscar win, Son of Saul will continue to be screened in numerous cinemas across Budapest and around the world.