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The Zone of Interest (2023) - the new film from director Jonathan Glazer

Sarah Taylor

Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Film review of director Jonathan Glazer's 2023 film; 'The Zone of Interest'

CW: mentions of the Holocaust and concentration camps

The film centres around one family, and particularly their family home. For most of us the family home is a place of sanctuary. This is also true in this case but it is the complete acceptance that the location of the family home is within yards of Auschwitz the concentration camp, and all of its horrors, many of which can be heard throughout the film, acting as a reminder that certain people were in complete denial to the pain inflicted upon others.

It portrays detachment and how dangerous that can be.  The dialogue and particular scenes relay the ease planning to kill large groups of people in such a matter-of-fact way, and with the agreement that the process is  very effective and beneficial  to the German people. The film is  full of scenes of idyllic family activities and the sheer delight the family take in playing in the garden with no acknowledgement or care of what is taking place just a few yards away from them. Against the backdrop of this idyllic family life shows the desperation and harsh living conditions of the camp. The film uses a negative exposure of a girl planting apples to convey the danger attached to it, the risk of eating one of them, and the desperation of trying to help where help is so needed.


The film’s eerie soundtrack reminds me of Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, in the sense that it conveys the true horror of what life now had become; dark, terrifying sounds like a roaming Pterodactyl taking over, projecting violent intentions with only one outcome. As in Kubrick’s film, this music plays during scenes of foreboding horror as a kind of warning of what is about to happen.

The juxtaposition is the most fascinating part of the film, life and death set side by side, joy over sadness and happiness against misery.  This is intensified by the mise-en-scene:  the colours of the flowers, green grass and fertile sole against the backdrop of grey high walls; unfeeling, sterile, cold, and still, where everything struggles to live or breath.


The representation of dogs is another contrast, for the German family their dog is a loving pet but to the prisoners in the camp they are to be feared, an imminent threat and a source of potential pain. The film highlights how objects, animals, food, and shelter can have two different meanings depending on what situation you find yourself in.


The necessities of life are all very present in the house and garden – food is prepared and eaten, and water is easily used in summertime activities, something that is all too absent over the wall and all too keenly felt with disastrous consequences.

The haves and have-nots are essentially what this film portrays.  The fact that the essential necessities were taken away from people and these people were completely dehumanised.  The film conveys the dangers of this – when compassion and empathy are missing and what that can lead to.


About the Author

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average rating is 3 out of 5, based on 150 votes, Article ratings

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Barbara Dawson

average rating is 3 out of 5

Lovely tasty dish. Try it you won’t be disappointed.

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Aunty Liz

average rating is 3 out of 5

Very tasty and cheap. I often have this for tea!

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average rating is 3 out of 5

Being a bilingual family (French mother and British father,) living in France I thought your article was extremely interesting . Have you research on bilingualism ? It seems that when the mother is British and the father French and they both live in France their children seem to be more bilingual than when the mother is French and the father is British . This is what we called mother tongue , isn't it ?

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average rating is 3 out of 5

Such an interesting article!

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