The Zone of Interest (2023)

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Just rewatched it. How long did people feel did Hedwigís mother stay with them? I feel like it was only a day or two, how long would it take her to get a sense of whatís going on after all. However, a friend I watched it with thinks she stays for a week or so. This is just from the film, not the book. What did people think?



I felt that a lot of the passage of time is just kind of hard to keep a track of. There were times when I felt that many years were being compressed in just a few scenes (not sure if that was accurate or not). I could swear the walls of the concentration camp next door weren't there across their house at the beginning of the movie, did I just imagine that?

And am I the only one who thinks that the movie deliberately tries to plays fast and loose with the period of time it covers?



Need to see this.


I was already a huge fan of both The Limey and Under the Skin, and just watched Birth last night which is also very good. Jonathan Glazer is impressive. My guts say this will be my favorite movie out of all the best picture nominees I haven't seen yet.



The trick is not minding
Need to see this.


I was already a huge fan of both The Limey and Under the Skin, and just watched Birth last night which is also very good. Jonathan Glazer is impressive. My guts say this will be my favorite movie out of all the best picture nominees I haven't seen yet.
I think you mean Sexy Beast. The Limey was Soderbergh



I felt that a lot of the passage of time is just kind of hard to keep a track of. There were times when I felt that many years were being compressed in just a few scenes (not sure if that was accurate or not). I could swear the walls of the concentration camp next door weren't there across their house at the beginning of the movie, did I just imagine that?

And am I the only one who thinks that the movie deliberately tries to plays fast and loose with the period of time it covers?
Thank you for saying that! Super-helpful, Iím glad itís not just me that finds it a little disorienting timeline-wise. At least if itís deliberate, itís not me being inattentive.

I think the camp is being constructed in the beginning so youíre right. I also noticed it but wasnít sure what to make of it. HŲss is then commended for building it fast or something.



Need to see this.

I was already a huge fan of both The Limey and Under the Skin, and just watched Birth last night which is also very good. Jonathan Glazer is impressive. My guts say this will be my favorite movie out of all the best picture nominees I haven't seen yet.
I am also a fan of Glazerís style (barring ĎBirthí perhaps ó I like the idea, but the execution is a little off, imo, though itís still engrossing). This is a disturbing one, but Iím also finding it might become one of my favourites.



Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Just rewatched it. How long did people feel did Hedwigís mother stay with them? I feel like it was only a day or two, how long would it take her to get a sense of whatís going on after all. However, a friend I watched it with thinks she stays for a week or so. This is just from the film, not the book. What did people think?

I think she knows from the start what's going on, it's not like it's a secret - she and Hedwig even discuss it, don't they? I think the reality and the enormity of it just start to get to her after a while. I wonder what she wrote in her note.



I think she knows from the start what's going on, it's not like it's a secret - she and Hedwig even discuss it, don't they? I think the reality and the enormity of it just start to get to her after a while. I wonder what she wrote in her note.
Well, I suppose thereís knowing and thereís knowing. They discuss it in sort of surface-level terms, the jewellery, the fact mother used to be a cleaner for a wealthy Jewish woman who is now Ďover the wallí, etc.

But I meant more the specifics, although on second thoughts, you did shift my perspective a little. I feel like itís not a secret but once she spends a few days (???) living there, the reality of it sets in, and thatís why she leaves, thatís why Iím interested in how long others thought the mother stays for. Otherwise if sheís known all along and known the full extent of it, why would she have come and then left so abruptly, characterisation-wise? This sort of touches on my beloved topic of people behaving irrationally in film, I love it when they do, but is it a case of that then?



Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I think it's one thing to know in the abstract, at a distance and another thing to live next to the atrocities actually happening next door. I think the mother's reaction shows up just how cold and strange Hedwig herself is, she knows and has absolutely no compunction in living there with her children. The most shocking part for me was


WARNING: spoilers below
the ashes on the flowers



The soundscaping of this film is just astonishing, haunting and unforgettable. If it is on pure merit, this should win Best Sound. As for the family themselves, it's not just Hoss himself though, take how coldly his wife is about it all - from practically the first time she is introduced, with the mink coat with the lipstick that also belonged to it;s former owner to refusing to leave the idyllic 'perfect' family home, the elder brother 'playing' with the younger into the glass house, the casual discussions and presentations of the improved mechanized factories of death, and all the while the evidence, in the picture-esque lake, sneezing out the ash all of it.


As to the OP's question re the grandmother who visits, presumably to stay, only to abruptly leave, I think that in itself doesn't necessarily 'need' an explaintation with the truth evident - but the point is that we don't 'get' given an explaintation.


There is also the truth of what the Nazis were upto at places like Auchwitz was not being widely told even to the German people, who were being fed stories of 'lebenstraum' and the 'relocations' to work and re-education camps, not mass murder on an industrial scale. So when we first meet the Hoss family they have already become so normalized, proud and rewarding of their circumstance, contrast with the Gran, who is not simply just an outsider who can see past the vaneer, but also to show the seemingly normal loving family background that Hedwig was brought up in, and to contrasting with the circumstances that she is now bringing her own children up in.


So my take away is that the grandmother may not have been fully aware of the truth prior to her visit, but even with her leaving it is with little fanfare, because who is going to question? So many people must've had questions that went unanswered, just simply people disappearing, strange occurances and no doubt the fear of living under a regime such as Nazism, all too often learn to not ask questions.



For me, at least, the most frightening possibility the movie suggests is that some of the people in situations like this one were vaguely aware that something was going on, but didn't want to bother thinking about it very much or just tried to put it out of their heads. They just cared about what happened to them, not to "others".



Doctoral dissertations and books have been written about people's abilities (not just nazi-era Germans) to not see horrible things going on, if they feel like they will be safer by not seeing. It's our human capacity for denial, something that seems parallel to not wanting to acknowledge mortality until it stares us in the face.



I notice similarities with another film about the holocaust Son of Saul (2015), most notably the idea that Evil exists on the margins/periphery. Notice how in Son of Saul, the protagonist can only see and navigate his life-world in a narrow, limited field of possibilities? This is not a defect of the human perspective, or any cognitive bias per se, but underscores the important point that Evil itself cannot be truly represented. Contrast this with your typical depictions of Evil - with a human face such as that in Schindler's List, and one sees the issue with such "representations" - they quickly devolve into a blame game by attributing it to a specific person/group of people (ie. the individualization of a Problem). The threat is that we forget that such events are not simply confined to the acts of a minority (a blip in history) and therefore can easily be remedied.

In The Zone of Interest, evil is outside the frame. It occasionally intrudes into it, but barely stirs the workings of a family. Perhaps we can better understand Arendt's point regarding the loss of a vibrant public sphere, typical in highly totalitarian societies, concomitant with the retreat into the private sphere. Our apathy/pessimism/cynicism towards the Public become the origins of Evil itself, the idea that the closure/blockage of an agonistic public sphere while replacing it with private pastoral concerns (Heimat) and instrumental technocratic machinations, results in a society that could and would inevitably sleepwalk into the allures of totalitarianism by a few charismatic men.



I notice similarities with another film about the holocaust Son of Saul (2015), most notably the idea that Evil exists on the margins/periphery. Notice how in Son of Saul, the protagonist can only see and navigate his life-world in a narrow, limited field of possibilities? This is not a defect of the human perspective, or any cognitive bias per se, but underscores the important point that Evil itself cannot be truly represented. Contrast this with your typical depictions of Evil - with a human face such as that in Schindler's List, and one sees the issue with such "representations" - they quickly devolve into a blame game by attributing it to a specific person/group of people (ie. the individualization of a Problem). The threat is that we forget that such events are not simply confined to the acts of a minority (a blip in history) and therefore can easily be remedied.

In The Zone of Interest, evil is outside the frame. It occasionally intrudes into it, but barely stirs the workings of a family. Perhaps we can better understand Arendt's point regarding the loss of a vibrant public sphere, typical in highly totalitarian societies, concomitant with the retreat into the private sphere. Our apathy/pessimism/cynicism towards the Public become the origins of Evil itself, the idea that the closure/blockage of an agonistic public sphere while replacing it with private pastoral concerns (Heimat) and instrumental technocratic machinations, results in a society that could and would inevitably sleepwalk into the allures of totalitarianism by a few charismatic men.
I have not seen Zone, but several of the still shots I have seen seem like re-enactments of some film shot in the actual place and time that I have seen. Whoever shot that original film was obviously attempting to make life in that Hell look normal and benign, like shots of Hoss's kids playing in the "back yard", etc. Horror being "Outside the frame" was the whole point. It's puzzling to me because, being that the German people didn't have to see this and had their lives dominated by propaganda anyway, some combination of that and denial insulated them from it. What's really bizarre is the question about who was the intended audience and why those people would want to document this. That goes beyond me.

Having seen more than enough actual film and still images of that time and place and having met several people who were actually there, I have a weird attitude, like who needs another movie about this but at the same time, not forgetting about it. I don't know what to do with it, but, so far, nobody I know wants to see it with me, so I've put it off until I can stream it for as much as I'm willing to pay for a movie that I will only watch in fragmentary parts.



What's really bizarre is the question about who was the intended audience and why those people would want to document this. That goes beyond me.

Having seen more than enough actual film and still images of that time and place and having met several people who were actually there, I have a weird attitude, like who needs another movie about this but at the same time, not forgetting about it. I don't know what to do with it, but, so far, nobody I know wants to see it with me, so I've put it off until I can stream it for as much as I'm willing to pay for a movie that I will only watch in fragmentary parts.
I'm also rather lukewarm towards Glazer's film. The last truly important piece of documentation about the holocaust was Shoah (1985), tackling the tricky issue of collaborators and complicit informants who made possible the smooth operation in carrying out the Nazi's Final Solution. I understand Glazer's attempt at conveying disinterest which is doubled at the level of technical framing and clinical shots - to show (implication) by not showing (explication). Spectacle is avoided, but at the cost of turning his film into just another fancy postmodern anti-art exhibition gawked at by privileged cinephiles from the comfort of their homes (the emphasis and unconditional fawning over the film's technical aspects by letterboxd users is a testimony to this), the same ones who have ironically forgotten about Palestine etc. For so much talk about breaking the fourth wall, Glazer had a missed opportunity in alerting us of our hypocrisy towards similar genocides/atrocities persisting today. The cross-cut into a silent Auschwitz was pure a rip off of Night and Fog and The Act of Killing, when it should have been directed at the modern audience themselves.



........Spectacle is avoided, but at the cost of turning his film into just another fancy postmodern anti-art exhibition gawked at by privileged cinephiles from the comfort of their homes......
Yeah, that's a good encapsulation of what I'd expect. Somehow, dinner in the food hall, seeing the movie in my downtown art house, followed by after-movie drinks just doesn't set well.



Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
. For so much talk about breaking the fourth wall, Glazer had a missed opportunity in alerting us of our hypocrisy towards similar genocides/atrocities persisting today. The cross-cut into a silent Auschwitz was pure a rip off of Night and Fog and The Act of Killing, when it should have been directed at the modern audience themselves.

I thought there was some of that there by implication, nearer the start of the film. I remember whilst watching it thinking that it was really about us and how in a global society we all effectively live next door to atrocities that we are ignoring. But it wasn't quite sustained - I think maybe so focused on recreating the minutiae of their lives that it lost that sense of universality. I agree about the ending, which did disappoint me, but it would have been difficult to pull off without being too on the nose.



The soundscaping of this film is just astonishing, haunting and unforgettable. If it is on pure merit, this should win Best Sound. .
Yeah this. The audio is amazing. The film is a masterpiece. Yup, I used that word. It's that good. Glazer is now firmly cemented as one of the best directors in the world. Everything he makes is just brilliant.

Even the song that is used diagetically in the film is moulded and manipulated to only give the audience the music (but the lyrics are on the screen). I think this is the case I have only seen it once in the cinema. The siubtext here is amazing - like we get the lost voices / words in our head while the music is nagging at another part of our brain almost to confuse us. It's another lost voice in the horrors of the holocaust that we continue to struggle to comprehend.

Masterpiece.



Yeah this. The audio is amazing. The film is a masterpiece. Yup, I used that word. It's that good. Glazer is now firmly cemented as one of the best directors in the world. Everything he makes is just brilliant.

Even the song that is used diagetically in the film is moulded and manipulated to only give the audience the music (but the lyrics are on the screen). I think this is the case I have only seen it once in the cinema. The siubtext here is amazing - like we get the lost voices / words in our head while the music is nagging at another part of our brain almost to confuse us. It's another lost voice in the horrors of the holocaust that we continue to struggle to comprehend.

Masterpiece.
Thatís how I felt! Have seen it three times now and it just keeps getting better.