Ladies and gentlemen, we have an early front-runner for the 68th Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or. Son of Saul, the debut of 38-year-old Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes, has taken a profoundly difficult subject – the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau – and found a way of suggesting, through narrow focus and the corners of the square frame, and a multi-layered soundtrack in competing sounds and languages, a modern vision of hell that has consistently challenged any kind of ethical depiction. The film is shown mostly through the point of view of a Jewish prisoner, Saul Auslaender (Geza Rohrig), who is a member of the Sonderkommando (inmates who oversaw the gas chambers and cremation ovens). Saul discovers a corpse of a boy he says is his son and is determined to find a rabbi who can say Kaddish and give the boy a proper burial, risking his own life and that of other inmates in the effort. All this takes place against the background of a planned breakout by a small group of inmmates, with rumours of Soviet troops in nearby Krakow. Not since 2007, when Cristian Mungiu's Romanian drama, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, has an unknown film had such an intense effect at Cannes, and there are few if any films that manage to balance a refusal to blink at atrocity without any suggestion of exploitaiton.