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The Zone of Interest (2023)

A haunting historical drama film directed by English filmmaker Jonathan Glazer. Loosely adapted from Martin Amis’ novel of the same name, the movie transports us to the darkest chapter of human history: the Holocaust.

The film revolves around the Hoss family, who reside in a secluded house right next to the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. Their lives unfold against the backdrop of unimaginable atrocities committed just beyond their walls. The patriarch, Rudolf Hoss, serves as the camp’s commandant, while his wife, Hedwig, grapples with the moral implications of their proximity to the horrors.

The opening scene paints a deceptively serene picture: the family enjoys a leisurely picnic by a river, seemingly untouched by the genocide occurring mere miles away. The juxtaposition is chilling—their idyllic moments contrast sharply with the suffering endured by the camp’s prisoners.

As the film progresses, we witness the moral decay of the Hoss family. Rudolf, responsible for countless deaths, remains detached, while Hedwig grapples with guilt and denial. Their children play innocently, oblivious to the screams echoing from the camp.

The heart of the story lies in the tension between personal lives and collective horror. Rudolf’s duty clashes with his humanity, and Hedwig’s love for her family battles her conscience. Their marriage becomes a microcosm of complicity and denial during the Holocaust.

The film doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable truth: the Hoss family’s privilege and ignorance allowed them to live comfortably while others suffered. The walls separating them from Auschwitz symbolize the moral chasm between their existence and the hellish reality outside.

As the war intensifies, Rudolf faces mounting pressure. His interactions with the camp’s prisoners reveal glimpses of humanity, but he remains trapped in his role. Hedwig, too, grapples with guilt, torn between loyalty to her husband and empathy for the victims.

“The Zone of Interest” forces viewers to confront uncomfortable questions: How close can evil be before it consumes us? What happens when we turn a blind eye to suffering? The film’s power lies in its unflinching portrayal of complicity and the banality of evil.

In this exploration of moral boundaries, “The Zone of Interest” reminds us that even amidst horror, love, guilt, and denial persist. It’s a haunting reminder that history’s darkest moments often unfold in plain sight, just beyond our walls. 

The programme starts 30 minutes after doors open and on Saturdays the main feature about 60 minutes after doors open.

Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss and his wife Hedwig strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden beside the camp.

Doors open:

6:30pm Saturday 14th September 2024


Jonathan Glazer


Drama, History, War
1h 45m
Christian Friedel, Sandra Hüller
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