Nominated for 5 Academy Awards®including Best Picture, Directing, International Feature Film, Sound, and Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Master of portraiture Jonathan Glazer (UNDER THE SKIN) was awarded the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for THE ZONE OF INTEREST, adapted from a 2014 novel of the same title by Martin Amis. The film centers on the domestic life of Hedwig (Sandra Hüller, ANATOMY OF A FALL) and Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), beneficiaries of lebensraum, whose family home — nestled between train tracks and gas chambers — is spitting distance from Auschwitz, the infamous German concentration camp located in occupied Poland, where Rudolf serves as commandant.
Towards the final days of the Holocaust, Hedwig is fixated on self-preservation, while Rudolf is increasingly burdened by his duties. We reside inside the family’s encampment, with background voices of ghost-like prisoners muffled by the perpetrator’s quotidian musings. At one point, Hedwig and her atrocious friends joke about their new luxury goods, received from Canada — the nickname of the storage facilities where such items, after being confiscated, were stored — at the demise of their former neighbors.
Shot on location, THE ZONE OF INTEREST weds banal and overt acts of evil with unforgettable reminders of resistance (it was shot in monochrome by thermal-imaging cameras). And just as we can’t take any more, the film gives a crushing nod to Joshua Oppenheimer’s THE ACT OF KILLING. Hauntingly scored by Mica Levi and shot by Lukasz Zal (COLD WAR), this film will stay with you for a lifetime, for better or for worse.(Synopsis from the Toronto International Film Festival 2023 Program Guide)
“In a sense, THE ZONE OF INTEREST is a simple work: calmly composed, fiercely controlled, and dedicated to the proof of one central irony — the nearness of ordinary lives to a tumult of death. Glazer achieves what he sets out to do, and you have to admire his tenacity, his technical skill, and his tact.” —Anthony Lane, New Yorker
“Jonathan Glazer’s first Palme competition entry is a nightmare bathed in sunshine, set during the Second World War…Viewers can’t turn away from this icy masterpiece; to do so would endanger your soul.” —Peter Howell, Toronto Star
“THE ZONE OF INTEREST isn’t a portrait of the victims of the Holocaust. It’s a portrait of the perpetrators. Yet what hovers over every moment is a human monstrousness that’s at once inflicted and repressed. The film’s haunting subject is the compartmentalization of evil.” —Owen Gleiberman, Variety