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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Review: ‘The Zone of Interest’ creates a brutally honest tale of World War II

If you are looking for a brutally realistic film with spectacular directing, acting and visuals, “The Zone of Interest” is the perfect historical movie for you.
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A24
Christian Friedel as Rudolf Höss in “The Zone of Interest.”

The Oscars this year were filled with several films that swarmed the media, such as “Barbie”, “Oppenheimer,” “The Holdovers,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and “Maestro.” However, the Best Director nominees included a few lesser-known foreign films. One of the most slept on is a Polish film called “The Zone of Interest,” directed by Jonathan Glazer. 

The film tells the story of Rudolf Hoss, commander of Auschwitz during the height of World War II, who lives right off the camp with his wife and kids. The family lives a life of luxury and freedom right beside one of the biggest symbols of genocide not only of World War II, but in all of history. 

While viewing the exposition of the film, it is easy to ask yourself why a movie depicting such a horrific event is portrayed so casually and calmly. Considering the nature of Auschwitz and the devastating effects of the camp, why wouldn’t we feel the inhumane nature of the situation? This, as odd as it seems, is intentional. 

The perspective gets clearer as the film goes on. This movie is about the Hoss family’s selfishness. We see them relishing their riches earned from wrongdoing. They show disregard that behind their beautiful home, we see the flames coming from the concentration camp. When the Hoss family’s ability to continue living there is threatened, there is no acknowledgement that as they live without worries, Jews are being slain next door. 

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Characters like these are no easy feat to portray. Sandra Huller, who was nominated for a Best Leading Actress for another movie this year, has the best performance in the film as Hedwig. Hedwig is an amazing opportunity for Huller to show her variety. Her and her costar, Christian Fielder, do an excellent job embodying such villainous characters. These performances are Oscar-nomination worthy, despite the film having no acting nominations. 

The luxury of the Hoss residence gives the cinematographers the perfect landscape to make the film something aesthetically pleasing despite the subject matter. They certainly were up to the task; the visuals in this movie were some of the best featured Best Picture nominees’ films.  

The camerawork was not only able to capture the idealistic provisions of the Hoss family but also took note of the horrors behind them. We see the gray buildings and smoky skies looming in the background while the sun shines bright on the family in the foreground. This is just one of the many genius components of the visual storytelling. You must watch it for yourself to see them all. 

There is a reason “The Zone of Interest” won Best International Feature at the Academy Awards. This film not only sets itself apart from the American cinema of the year but films from across the globe.  

A large reason for this is the directing. Jonathan Glazer demonstrated this beyond the way the movie is filmed. The storytelling is masterfully demonstrated using filters. The coloring, or lack thereof, is a storytelling tool that is used at its full potential. The composition is always on point, with components like blocking and decoration telling a film that is both accurate and memorable. 

If you are looking for a brutally realistic film with spectacular directing, acting and visuals, “The Zone of Interest” is the perfect historical movie for you. 

“The Zone of Interest” is now available to rent/purchase and is streaming on Max. 

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