There is evil in normalcy, says The Zone of Interest
Still from The Zone of Interest. (Courtesy of Zone of Interest press kit.)

There is evil in normalcy, says The Zone of Interest

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Forget the popcorn and allow for the breathtaking yet jarring screenplay in The Zone of Interest to satiate the palette. Loosely based off of a novel under the same name by author Martin Amis, director Jonathan Glazer is to thank for the cinematic adaptation which was originally shown at the Cannes film festival in May 2023. Glazer’s film, The Zone of Interest, received a prolonged standing ovation at the renown festival and has garnered five Oscar nominations. Since then, A24 has released the 105 minute film for the public in three countries and continues to gain wide recognition and critical acclaim. 

The Zone of Interest takes place in 1943, just beyond the walls surrounding the Auschwitz concentration camp. Capturing the everyday lives of a German family, the film allows viewers to experience the tragedies of the Holocaust from a different lens, that of camp commandant Rudolf Höss and his wife and kids. The eerily idyllic setting provides a gut-wrenching contrast to the horrors that occurred just beyond the walls of the family’s garden. Scenes that include blue skies and birds chirping are not left without the faint sounds of gunshots and the camp furnace burning. The film leaves much to the imagination, and it is hard to tell if that is for better or for worse.

A notable aspect of The Zone of Interest is Glazer’s choice to explore the mundanity of the Höss family, their simple chores and simple garden, to shed light on the pure evil that ran rampant in the Nazi command ranks. In an interview with the MadMan press agency, Glazer was asked about this choice, explaining that what he wanted to film “was the contrast between somebody pouring a cup of coffee in their kitchen and somebody being murdered on the other side of the wall. The co-existence of those two extremes.” It is within that co-existence and blinding contrast that audiences have been left with mouths agape and perspectives changed. 

The Zone of Interest falls under the title of historical drama, and has gained the same praise as other films of its caliber such as Oppenheimer and Killers of the Flower Moon. Citizens of Sarasota can view the movie at Burns Court Cinema, Bradenton AMC 20, Lakewood Ranch Cinemas and other surrounding theaters. While a date has not been confirmed as to when, the movie will be available for streaming on Max in the near future for everyone to watch, process and never forget.

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