‘The Zone of Interest’ Review: A Hollow Holocaust

The Höss Family’s Life at Auschwitz: A Haunting Tale

The story of the real Höss family, who lived in the Auschwitz complex during World War II, is a chilling and haunting one. The complex, spanning 15 square miles, housed different camps, including Auschwitz I where the family resided. This camp was notorious for its prisoner barracks, gallows, gas chambers, and crematory.

Rudolf Höss, the head of the family, was arrested in 1946 and later hanged at Auschwitz in 1947. He wrote that his family lived comfortably in Auschwitz, with his wife enjoying a “flower paradise” and his children running freely. This unsettling revelation sheds light on the banality of evil, as described by philosopher Hannah Arendt.

This tragic history is the backdrop for director Jonathan Glazer’s adaptation, “The Zone of Interest.” The film portrays the Höss family’s everyday life in the midst of this unimaginable horror. Through careful framing and extended takes, the movie captures the mundane activities of the family, while also hinting at the darkness that lurks just beyond the frame.

Glazer’s film eschews traditional cinematic techniques, opting instead for a subdued and matter-of-fact approach. This deliberate choice accentuates the unsettling normalcy of the family’s life in the midst of unspeakable atrocities. The use of natural sounds and minimal music adds to the eerie atmosphere, effectively conveying the sense of an impending tragedy.

The juxtaposition of the family’s seemingly ordinary life with the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust is a poignant and thought-provoking exploration of the human experience in the face of evil. “The Zone of Interest” serves as a stark reminder of the capacity for cruelty that resides within the most ordinary of circumstances.

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