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THE ZONE OF INTEREST

Director: JONATHAN GLAZER

105 mins, UK-USA-Poland, 2023, Digital

In the postscript to his titular novel, from which Jonathan Glazer’s film takes its title and situation but virtually nothing else, Martin Amis refers to Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi being told by one of the concentration camp’s guards, “there is no ‘why’ here”. The Zone of Interest follows the quotidian, almost boring life of Commandant Rudolf Höss and his wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller) as she runs the household at the camp’s edge and he attends to the bureaucracy required for the mass murder of the camp’s population. Glazer’s clinical approach does not attempt to find the ‘why’, but instead focuses on the banal ‘how’, on the mental accommodations made by the couple to ignore utterly the horrors they have nurtured literally on their very doorstep. It is in juxtaposing the mundane with the devastating use of sound and the occasional background glimpse that the film derives its chilling power.

Notes by Kevin Coyne

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