It was the most critically acclaimed film in the first week of the 76th Cannes Film Festival. Novel area of interest by Martin Amis, It was not published in France or Germany when it was launched, but in its film version it is one of the favorites for the Palme d’Or, thanks to the talents of its director, the British Jonathan Glazer. Yesterday was the gala screening, where he received thunderous applause, and today he had press passes and meetings with reporters, which coincided with the author’s death from cancer at age 73.
Indeed, its film version has little to do with the original novel. “What I was trying to do with the film was to impress the audience, whatever their background may be. I found it important to show that this is about people and monsters”, said Glazer, director of three previous complex films whose characters are difficult for the public to connect with: sexy animal (2000), Rebirth (2004) and under the skin (2013). On this occasion, Glazer encounters the daily life of Rudolf Haus, the commandant of Auschwitz, his wife, Hedwig (played by German actress Sandra Hüller), and their children, who lived an almost idyllic life in a house with a garden. , dog and pool right next to the walls of the extermination camp. She takes care of the flowers, and he makes sure that the other side of the wall is done neatly, while he watches over the house so that they don’t pluck the flowers from the lilacs at the entrance.
You can barely see the area, but you can hear it. How else. Glazer filmed with ten cameras moved by remote control so that the actors could freely recreate that family life: at one point Höss is offered a change of assignment by his superiors, and his wife protests. : An idyllic life with a young officer is hinted at (which breaks up in the novel). These pleasant images are accompanied by a deafening noise, that of the incessant operation of the gas chambers, of extermination machinery, of screams and gunfire. “It is important that we introduce the younger generation to these tragic events, that we talk about them in cinema so that they are not forgotten,” said the director, “and that the oppression of any minority, no matter what Ho, not repeated, because La Zona of Interest has a resonance for any age”. This is how he responded to a seven-decade-long on-screen debate: Can the Holocaust be portrayed on the big screen? a debate that has already taken place with the premiere at Cannes in 2015 Son of Saul by Hungarian László Nemes, supported by director Claude Lanzmann shoah And Last of the unjust.
Jonathan Glazer began the project after a visit to Auschwitz (“which impressed me greatly”) before reading the novel, and shot it in Poland: “I had no doubt that it should be like this.” And in between, like digressions and echoes from the future to the past, images of the current state of the camps, which suddenly went into action in the forties, underline the horrors of the place.
All the culture you want to go with is here waiting for you.
Literary novelties analyzed by the best critics in our weekly bulletin