All posts tagged: longest-serving commandant of Auschwitz

Cruelty and Apathy Collide in ‘The Zone of Interest’

Cruelty and Apathy Collide in ‘The Zone of Interest’

Jonathan Glazer’s new film, The Zone of Interest, begins with a black screen that lingers for at least a full minute. There’s music in the form of a groaning score, as well as a smattering of noises—faint whispers, rustling leaves—that can be heard through the discordant notes. Otherwise, though, nothing appears. That nothingness continued for so long at my screening that I began to question whether a technical difficulty—a defective projector, maybe?—had occurred. It had not; Glazer, who’s known for making unsettling, experimental movies such as Birth and Under the Skin, intended to teach the audience how to absorb his new film, his first in 10 years. “It’s a way of saying, ‘Ears first,’” he told me earlier this month. “What you’re going to hear in this film is as important as what you’re going to see. Arguably more so.” The Zone of Interest is two films in one: the film you see and the film you hear. The movie you see observes the mundane day-to-day lives of a well-off German family. Over and over, …