‘The Zone of Interest’ First Look: Jonathan Glazer Returns with First Feature Since ‘Under the Skin’

Glazer collaborates again with "Under the Skin" composer Mica Levi for the adaptation of Martin Amis' Holocaust novel.
The Zone of Interest
"The Zone of Interest"
Courtesy A24

Jonathan Glazer is back on the big screen.

The “Under the Skin” director returns for his first feature in 10 years with “The Zone of Interest,” based on Martin Amis’ 2014 novel. The period piece follows Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), the commandant of Auschwitz, and his wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller) who both strive to build a dream life for their family in the garden next to the concentration camp. The novel charts a love triangle with a Nazi officer who falls in love with Hedwig; the story is told from the perspective of three characters, one being a Jewish Sonderkommando.

Max Beck, Ralph Herforth, Stephanie Petrowitz, Sascha Maaz, Marie Rosa Tietjen, and Lilli Falk also star.

Łukasz Żal, the Oscar-nominated cinematographer of Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Ida” and “Cold War,” serves as the director of photography, with Paul Watts editing. The A24 film will be scored by composer Mica Levi. Glazer and Levi have collaborated together on the short films “Strasbourg 1518” and “The Fall” since first teaming up for “Under the Skin,” the cult classic starring Scarlett Johansson as an alien sent to Earth on a mysterious mission. Micachu musician Mica Levi’s unsettling and discordant “Under the Skin” score is frequently listed among the best original film soundtracks of the 21st century.

“The Zone of Interest” marks Glazer’s fourth feature following “Under the Skin,” “Sexy Beast,” and “Birth.” This film is set to premiere in competition at Cannes, marking Glazer’s first contention for the Palme d’Or throughout his decades-long career.

Glazer previously said on the “A Dash of Drash” podcast that the drama will be tonally very different from other Holocaust films like “Schindler’s List” and “Son of Saul.”

“I remember being very taken by the faces of the bystanders, the onlookers, the complicit, you know? Ordinary Germans. I started wondering how it would be possible to stand by and watch that,” Glazer said. “Some of the faces actually enjoy it, the spectacle of it, the kind of circus of it.”

Glazer added in a 2019 interview that he wanted to capture the “ever-present” fear of modern politics in his recent projects, namely short “The Fall,” which was inspired by President Trump.

“I think fear is ever-present, and that drives people to irrational behavior,” Glazer said. “A mob encourages an abdication of personal responsibility. The rise of National Socialism in Germany for instance was like a fever that took hold of people. We can see that happening again.”

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