“The Zone of Interest” is a new movie about the Holocaust that is blowing audiences away at the Cannes Film Festival. The film reportedly received a six-minute standing ovation following its world premiere. A survey of what the critics and others have been saying about the film makes it the movie will be at the top of everyone’s Oscars lists come next spring.
From director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast), “The Zone of Interest” is based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Martin Amis and was actually filmed at Auschwitz. The movie tells the story of Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz, and his wife Hedwig, as they “strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden next to the camp,” while ignoring all of the horrors taking place there.
After the ovation, a grateful Jonathan Glazer told the audience, “Thank you very much. I’m really overwhelmed by this. It’s a dream. To be a part of this with you, thank you.”
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Filmed on location in English, Polish and German, German actor Christian Friedel plays Rudolf Höss and Sandra Hüller plays his wife Hedwig.
The late Martin Amis (1949-2023), a British author who died as the film was first shown at Cannes, wrote 15 novels, eight of which were made into movies including the 2008 thriller “London Fields” that starred Amber Heard, Cara Delevingne and Billy Bob Thornton.
The New York Times said, “Glazer’s directing ought to attract a lot of attention: He frames the family’s mundane activities in static wide shots, cutting only when someone enters another room, as though they themselves are under eerie surveillance.”
Variety said, “Glazer’s film is austere and challenging as it tells the story of the commandant of Auschwitz and his wife, who have created their dream home directly next to the concentration camp. The constant screams of prisoners, gun shots and smoke from the gas chambers haunt their paradise, but their indifference to such horrors creates a terrifying and sinister juxtaposition.”
The BBC said, “Jonathan Glazer, the writer-director of Under the Skin, Birth, and Sexy Beast, has made a Holocaust film like no other – one that makes its point not by depicting the horrors being endured in the camps, but by excluding them. A blood-freezing treatise on the banality of evil.”
And The Daily Beast said, “The Zone of Interest is being hailed as the first great movie to emerge from this year’s Cannes and for good reason. It’s a disturbing and brilliant film that challenges what it means to make a Holocaust movie.”