It’s worth saying again: Lajos Koltai’s Fateless is the first near-great film of 2006. The exquisite widescreen framing, desaturated color and exquisite editing make it, to my eyes, the most visually immaculate Holocaust death-camp drama ever made (am I saying this right?) as well as one of the most realistic seeming and subtly-rendered in terms of story. Based on Imre Kertesz’s mostly true-life account, it’s about a young Jewish boy from Budapest who ends up in a concentration camp during World War II and just barely survives. It lacks the story tension and rooting factor of Polanski’s The Pianist, but situations of hunger, despair and the ashy aura of near-death have never been rendered with such remarkable pictorial finesse. Here’s a phone interview I did with Koltai a week and a half ago.