The Zone of Interest

The Zone of Interest ★★★★★

ZFF 2023 #9

Visualising, among other things, the crux of historical remembrance: we must look at the Holocaust, even if the full scale of its horror is fundamentally unrepresentable – so Glazer has us look at the perpetrators, their lavishly unremarkable lives, their acts of indirect violence in all their banal (in)humanity, and confines the final stage of the atrocity to the margins of the story, the frame, the sound design, from where it becomes all the more deafening. The result is unrelentingly chilling, not just because of the way that which is not shown gradually becomes an ever-present intrusive thought, not just because of the slow, deliberate casualness with which the horror announces itself (the new clothes), and not just because of Mica Levi's incredible, terrifying score: as in Under the Skin, there is an inhuman coldness to Glazer's fixed cameras that seems to erode away the very ideas of dramatisation and emotional and moral framing. Ecce homo: you know what they did, so why give the imagery any particular valence? Normality turns sickening.

Lots to process, desperate to revisit. What I can say is that I was floored by the time jump, which simultaneously works as a harrowing bit of specification (whilst staying true to the film's use of absence) and a darkly foreboding look into the near future: banal normality has returned to Auschwitz in a warped form; soon it will be a memorial to an evil that lies outside of living memory – and what will happen then?

Block or Report

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