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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'The Zone of Interest': A Darkly Compelling Depiction of Domesticity in the Immediate Shadow of Barbarity

The Zone of Interest (2023) is a darkly compelling historical drama that focuses on German Schutzstaffel officer Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his family circa 1943. The film captures the daily routines of the Höss family as they construct a seemingly idyllic life in a house adjacent to Auschwitz concentration camp in Oświęcim, Poland.

While Höss, his wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller) and myriad servants attend to affairs of home and garden, concentration camp horrors abound just beyond the walls of their property—with only fleeting visual and auditory clues to the atrocities at hand. The storyline concurrently delves into Höss' professional responsibilities, as he pines for advancement within the Nazi party and is ultimately promoted to deputy inspector of all concentration camps—requiring a relocation to Berlin that serves as a point of turmoil within the family.

Loosely adapted from the novel by Martin Amis and directed by British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, Under the Skin), The Zone of Interest is an undeniably captivating portrayal of domesticity existing in the immediate shadow of barbarity. Glazer's film unfolds with chilling precision, employing starkly beautiful visuals to convey a deeply wrought illustration of evil infiltrating the fabric of daily life, masked as familial comfort and mundanity.



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