This holocaust-themed historical drama is loosely based on a novel written in 2014 by Martin Amis and is directed by Jonathan Glazer.
It’s a holocaust film like no other, that explores the four-year posting of Rudolf Hoss as the commandant of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in 1943. He lived with his wife Hedwig and their five children in their ‘dream home’ situated right next to the wall which separated them from the camp where murderous atrocities were being perpetrated against the Jewish prisoners.
The story is very simplistic, but more significantly a gem which borders on masterpiece status. Absent are battle sequences, war drama and scenes of human torture and suffering.
Disbelief and anger may arise while watching the residents in this household carrying on with their daily routines as the extermination machine is in full operation over the wall.
Rudolf Hoss’s wife Hedwig walks through her paradise garden, laced with green lawns and bursting with beautiful flowers, proud that she is known as the “Queen of Auschwitz”. They lead a dream life with beautiful happy memories while living a luxurious lifestyle.
Hedwig gasps with delight as she receives the best clothing and fur coats which were preowned by the Jewish women sent to the gas chambers. She is overjoyed when she discovers diamonds hidden in toothpaste containers. Her son also seems happy as he plays with loose teeth filled with gold.
The mundanity of life and the sense of normality this Nazi family lead is not only horrifyingly disturbing, but unfathomable. Their desensitized disregard for the Jewish is offensive.
Cleverly crafted, the cinematography in this film is sublime. Smoke from the trains transporting the Jews to the camps and also from the crematoria is seen throughout. Revealing the morbid activities in the camp through sound rather than sight while the family carry on with the normality of life is unsettling. Included are the sounds of manufacturing machinery, furnaces roaring, crematoria, gunfire and human anguish and pain.
Rudolf and Hedwig Hoss are perfectly portrayed by Christian Friedel and Sandra Huller respectively. The love they share for their family masks their toxic hatred for Jewish. Huller has garnered a Best Actress nomination at the Oscars for her portrayal and in total the film has received five Academy Award nominations.
The Zone of Interest is a very unique, haunting and breath stopping movie experience set in one of the darkest chapters in history. There will be silence in cinemas as the movie screens to shocked audiences. It’s not a movie for everyone and definitely not one that promises enjoyment. Its purpose is inadvertently to spread awareness about the evil that man has done and continues to do – and to promote a better future existence for humanity.
In cinemas February 22