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The Zone of Interest Review: Jonathan Glazer’s Film Deserves Best International Feature Film Win at Oscars


Jonathan Glazer’s Holocaust drama, The Zone of Interest, which took home the Oscar for the Best International Feature Film was the U.K.’s first-ever win in this category. The work qualified for this award since most of the dialogues are in German and not English.

The Zone of Interest is a vicious and terrifying movie that sends the creeps down your spine, and, mind you, without showing any blood, gore or violence. Sandra Huller essays the calm and composed Hedwig, Rudolf Hoss’ (Christian Friedel) wife. He commands over Auschwitz, one of the most notorious Nazi death camps which saw many of the six million Jews killed – gassed to death.

The couple, whose house is just outside the gas chambers, have an idyllic life with their children, eating great dinners, going on picnics and generally having a good time. Hoss spends the day sending men, women and children to the poison-spewing cells, and returns home to celebrate birthdays and read bedtime stories to his five kids. Sometimes, the family plans vacations, while dastardly events take place just across the wall.

We never see beyond Hedwig’s rose and dahlia garden, separated from the camp by the wall. But Johnnie Burn designs sound in such an immersive way that the cries and noise generated by the horrors inside the camp tell us all: the inhuman cruelty, the viciousness and the agonising cries of those dying. Adding to these is the smoke rising from Auschwitz furnace chimneys.

A sense of awful dread prevails throughout the film through an eerie sound score. There are other telling details that demonstrate how Hoss’ work impacts his children. In a scene, we see a boy lock his younger brother in a greenhouse and tease him by making noises which resemble the sound of hissing gas.

The two lead stars are impeccable. Friedel is terrifyingly efficient and totally committed to the cause of National Socialism – his thin voice and despotic haircut matching his profile of a monster. Huller lords over her good fortune as she picks the choicest possessions of the murdered Jews. There is a line from her that is spine-chilling. She tells one of her Jewish housemaids: “I could have my husband spread your ashes across the fields of Babice (a place in Poland).” Though she mouths these words with a smile, one cannot miss how deadly they really are.


Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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