The Zone of Interest is about the danger of ignoring atrocities – including in Gaza

March 14, 2024
By Naomi Klein 


If Jonathan Glazer’s brave Oscar acceptance speech made you uncomfortable, that was the point

It’s an Oscar tradition: a serious political speech pierces the bubble of glamour and self-congratulation. Warring responses ensue. Some proclaim the speech an example of artists at their culture-shifting best; others an egotistical usurpation of an otherwise celebratory night. Then everyone moves on. Yet I suspect that the impact of Jonathan Glazer’s time-stopping speech at last Sunday’s Academy Awards will be significantly more lasting, with its meaning and import analyzed for many years to come.  Glazer was accepting the award for best international film for The Zone of Interest, which is inspired by the real life of Rudolf Höss, commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The film follows Höss’s idyllic domestic life with his wife and children, which unfolds in a stately home and garden immediately adjacent to the concentration camp. Glazer has described his characters not as monsters but as “non-thinking, bourgeois, aspirational-careerist horrors”, people who manage to turn profound evil into white noise.