Now Reading
‘Zone of Interest’: We Can Critically Debate Geopolitics, But Can We Agree That Innocent People Should Not Die?

‘Zone of Interest’: We Can Critically Debate Geopolitics, But Can We Agree That Innocent People Should Not Die?

  • Jonathan Glazer’s German film leaves us with a dread that humanity is capable of cruelty at a scale that negates our very own humanity.

I’ve been putting off watching Jonathan Glazer’s “Zone of Interest” because of how real it is and how reality is so hard especially when examined in the fullness of time.

The reality here is the systematic extermination of Jews leading up to and during the Second World War. 

In this German film, the examination of this reality is lyrical and chilling through the lens of a very able and ambitious German leader for the Auschwitz camp in Poland. Rudolf Höss efficiently exterminates hundreds of thousands of Jews while building an idyllic home compound for his family next to the camp. Literally they share a wall. I cried.  

His wife Hedwig is a loving partner and homemaker who raises her 4 children and her green house with the same efficiency and attention to detail. She grows roses, many other plants and fruits and when her mother visits they discuss their Jewish neighbors who are now in the camps. Another chilling scene is where Hedwig tries on expensive furs that were clearly from women sent to the labor and concentration camps. She preens in front of the mirror not thinking for a minute how she comes to possess them now.

Birds chirp while gunshots ring; smoke rises up the incinerators of the camp while the hearths of the Hoss household fire up the delicacies of the day.

It’s very hard to watch because the violence is not overt, rather very subtle. 

The callousness of the Reich is exposed as they treat people as numbers and systematically design their strategy. Höss is promoted to tackle the Jews in Hungary next since he did such a good job in Auschwitz. The Fuhrer and Himmler are pleased with him. 

We are left with a dread that humanity is capable of cruelty at a scale that we really should not be. Who reigns in this power? Do we have to go too far before conflagration into a reset?

See Also

My family started watching but the kids bowed out. I let them. They need to know but not so much that they are jaded. 

Glazer directs this film with the skill of a master weaver, every scene a fine thread that reveals a design we cannot stop watching but we know hides a terrible tragedy. This movie fittingly won the Grand Prize at Cannes and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. The lead actors give a simmering performance with Sandra Huller’s Hedwig (also brilliant in Anatomy of a Fall) a loving wife and mother while incredulously ignoring the human suffering around her. 

Parts of the world are burning now; we can critically debate the geopolitics but we can unequivocally agree that innocent people should not die.

Priya Sethuraman lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has an exciting career in technology and immerses herself in the core and emerging technology trends. She is also passionate about the arts and appreciates all forms of literary expression including books, films, music and painting. She hopes her foray into the world of words via a critique of the works of giants can inspire her to take a pen to create an original work someday. 

What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2020 American Kahani LLC. All rights reserved.

The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
Scroll To Top