Hungarian Holocaust movie “Son of Saul” won the Golden Globe Award for best foreign language film Sunday.
It was the first time a Hungarian film has ever won the award, announcer Hellen Mirren said.
Hungary was previously nominated twice, in 1989 for the World War II film Hanussen and in 1986 for Colonel Redl, but never won.
“This is unreal,” director Laszlo Nemes said on accepting the award. “You know, the Holocaust has become over the years an abstraction. For me it’s more a face, a human face. Let’s not forget this face.”
The movie, winner of the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, features Saul Auslander as 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.
JTA contributed to this report.