Saul is temporarily alive. A Hungarian Jew at Auschwitz, he has been designated a Sonderkommando; instead of being killed upon arrival, he was made part of a detail that aids Nazi guards in the process of murdering people at the extermination camp. By the time we are introduced to Saul, he has been at this for some time, so his eyes are already vacant and his soul already battered. Whatever thin crust of humanity he has left is about to express itself in a gesture that is almost entirely pointless. Except to him.
This specific horror is portrayed in Son of Saul, a film that—in its own claustrophobic way—is as astonishing as the big-as-all-outdoors spectacle The Revenant.