All posts tagged: long picture take

‘The Zone of Interest’ Sound Design Told Another Story

‘The Zone of Interest’ Sound Design Told Another Story

The Zone of Interest is a Holocaust movie that only ever lingers on one victim of the Holocaust. (He’s a prisoner whose job is mixing ashes of the dead into a German commander’s garden soil.) It’s centered on the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, yet you never see a train, or a vicious dog, or a crying baby. Instead you mostly watch domestic scenes from a German commander’s family, as they eat, play, swim, and tend to the garden. This decision has led some critics to complain that the movie keeps the “horrors at an oblique remove,” as Manohla Dargis put it. But that’s true only of the visuals. Through the soundtrack, the horrors come alive in a whole new way. In this episode of Radio Atlantic, the film’s sound designer, Johnnie Burn—who is nominated for an Oscar along with the sound mixer, Tarn Willers—does a close analysis of key scenes in The Zone of Interest. Early on, Burn and the director, Jonathan Glazer, decided they would not use sounds from actors. Instead Burn collected real …