Hungary's Son Of Saul wins Oscar for best foreign language film

Director Laszlo Nemes of Hungary holding his Oscar for the Best Foreign Film for his movie Son Of Saul at the 88th Academy Awards on Feb 28, 2016.
Director Laszlo Nemes of Hungary holding his Oscar for the Best Foreign Film for his movie Son Of Saul at the 88th Academy Awards on Feb 28, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Hungarian movie Son Of Saul, a harrowing Holocaust drama, won the Oscar on Sunday for Best Foreign Language Film.

The drama, which offers unflinching depictions of the gas chambers of Auschwitz, beat Colombia's Embrace Of The Serpent, French movie Mustang, Theeb from Jordan, and Denmark's A War.

It was Hungarian-French director Laszlo Nemes' first full-length film, which had been seen as the favourite to win the award after it won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and took the second-highest prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Hungary's first Oscar contender in 28 years, Son Of Saul is the first Hungarian film to win an Oscar since Istvan Szabo's Mephisto in 1982.

"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," Nemes told the Oscars audience at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

His film tells the story of two days in 1944 in a German death camp where Saul Auslander, a Hungarian Jew forced to burn corpses in a crematorium, believes he has discovered his son amid the bodies, and endeavours to give him a proper burial.

While Saul - played by newcomer Geza Rohrig, a New York-based Hungarian - toils at the epicentre of the Holocaust inferno, the viewer follows him around the camp, seeing what he sees, much of the action blurred in the background.

Repeat telecasts of the 88th Annual Academy Awards will air on HBO (StarHub TV Channel 601) on March 2 (9pm), March 4 (10.30pm) and March 6 (4pm).