Cannes 2023 Review: The Zone of Interest – Jonathan Glazer

2 mins read

Synopsis: The commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss, and his wife Hedwig, strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden next to the camp.

“The Zone of Interest” is the very reason cameras were brought into existence. There was no visual horror provided in this film but it captivated my senses with a subtle chill thinking about what has really happened. From the first moment on it gave me goosebumps all over my body and an uneasy feeling in my stomach. The last time I felt so uncomfortable and actually didn’t want to watch it was, ironically, when I visited a concentration camp myself. It had rained that day and that made the horror even worse – you can’t just re-create that emptiness and helplessness, but Jonathan Glazer has projected the worst horror in human history onto the screen in a way that won’t let you go.

Almost like a documentary, he shows the monsters calmly and quietly as they live their daily lives, but never forgets what they have everything to answer for. Sentences like “He calls me the queen of Ausschwitz” or “I thought about how to gas all the people in this room”, as well as the enumeration at a meeting of certainly fifteen camps did something to me that I can not put into words and the haunting score has only contributed to this terror.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to watch this again, but the last images have burned this time document into my brain for eternity. It almost feels wrong to say this is a masterpiece, but it shakes to the core and strikes a blow for ecstatic truth.


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