“Upsetting”, “testing”… Should we see “The Zone of Interest”, a film about the Shoah, in the cinema?

Directed by Jonathan Glazer, “The Zone of Interest”, Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, was released in cinemas this Wednesday, August 31, 2024.

“Upsetting”, “testing”… Should we see “The Zone of Interest”, a film about the Shoah, in the cinema?

Directed by Jonathan Glazer, “The Zone of Interest”, Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, was released in cinemas this Wednesday, August 31, 2024. Critics' opinions.

At the last Cannes Film Festival, he caused an explosion. The Zone of Interest was, along with Anatomy of a Fall, one of the favorites of the international press to win the 2023 Palme d'Or. Director Jonathan Glazer had to settle for the Grand Prix (second best Cannes prize), but is now nominated five times for the Oscars for this film about the Shoah. French spectators can discover it from this Wednesday January 31, 2024.

The Area of ​​Interest follows Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss, who is determined to build his dream house and garden just meters from the extermination camp with his wife and children. In the casting, moviegoers will recognize the astonishing Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall), but also the German actor Christian Friedel (The White Lotus, Perfume).

If the synopsis of The Zone of Interest is surprising, it is nevertheless a real favorite of the international press. Allociné describes it as an “unmissable film” which “tells the Shoah like never before”, when Ecran Large speaks of “electroshock”, “a masterpiece of viscerality, the kind that stays with you long after the session. A great film about the unspeakable of the Shoah, and a great film in short."

“Upsetting” (franceinfo), “overwhelming” and “powerful” (La voix du Nord), “a masterpiece of incredible narrative and formal power which provokes astonishment” (Le JDD), “astounding and disturbing "(L'Humanité), "an immense film" (Le Parisien)... Adjectives rain down to describe this cinematic experience where Auschwitz is told from the point of view of the Nazis.

In this feature film, Jonathan Glazer creates an "extreme unease" (Le Parisien) through "this obvious contrast between an almost idyllic family cocoon [...] and the abomination of what is taking place a few meters away". The objective: to denounce the trivialization of horror, with an obvious staging bias: not to show disturbing images of what is happening in the camps, but to suggest it, through details and in particular work on the sound.

However, not all French critics allowed themselves to be completely seduced by "the formal experiments" (La Croix), which the media also judged to be "out of place in this context". For Critikat, "The idea is theoretically fascinating but in fact not without limits", when Première judges the film "academic", "clumsily contradicting its own theoretical doxa by aligning the effects of meaning, rhyme and shock, as we check a shopping list at the supermarket.

The Zone of Interest, however, remains an event not to be missed this week at the cinema: the film obtains a rating of 4/5 on Allociné from the press, and 4.2/5 from spectators.

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