‘The Zone of Interest’s Most Intriguing Characters Are Not Who You Think


The big picture

  • The innocence of children a
    The Area of ​​Interest
    it reveals the extremes of human nature: good and evil, provoking introspection.
  • Director Jonathan Glazer uses children to show humanity's potential future in the face of atrocities, allowing for hope and change.
  • Characters like the young woman and Klaus present strong contrasts, emphasizing the choice between bravery and turning away from evil.

The Area of ​​Interest it might be one of the most disturbing retellings of the Holocaust ever seen on screen. The haunting sounds of the atrocities being committed off-screen as the happy Höss family go about their picturesque lives stick with the viewer long after viewing. However, as long as it is Christian FriedelRudolf Höss who directs the film, and Sandra HüllerIt's Hedwig who steals the show, it's the kids inside The Area of ​​Interest which provide the greatest intrigue.

director Jonathan Glazer he said that The Area of ​​Interest it's about now, not the past. From the unnamed Polish girl, to Höss's eldest son, Klaus (JOhann Karthaus), and the youngest Höss, Hans (Luis Noah Witte), each child a The area of ​​interest, it is a reflection of human nature. The good, the bad, and the side of us that is afraid to face the evil we see before us. It is in these children that we see Glazer explore the potential future of humanity.

The Area of ​​Interest

Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss and his wife Hedwig strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden next to the camp.

Publication date
December 15, 2023

Jonathan Glazer

Sandra Hüller, Christian Friedel, Freya Kreutzkam, Max Beck

Execution time
105 minutes

Main genre

Martin Amis, Jonathan Glazer


The good and the bad in 'The Zone of Interest' is a reflection of humanity

During a few scenes a The Area of ​​Interest, we see a young, unnamed girl planting food for Auschwitz prisoners at night. Infra-red and haunting scenes are punctuated by some of the most unique music to be heard throughout Area of ​​interest – an ominous low rumble. These stage choices by Glazer highlight the danger this young woman is in and the bravery she is showing by doing this charitable act. This character is inspired by Aleksandra Bystron-Kolodziejczyk, to whom Glazer dedicated his Oscar win. Aleksandra was a young resistance fighter who did the same thing as this young woman and Glazer admits she is “a force for good” as the infrared lighting literally makes her glow in the dark as Glazer intended. The public doesn't know why he's doing the good he's doing, they just know that what he's doing is good. They don't ask him if he has anyone he knows in the camp or if he is part of a larger resistance. The only thing that matters is that his nature is good. This unnamed girl clearly juxtaposes the banal attitude adults like Hedwig and Rudolf take towards the Holocaust, as her fruit is for those who suffer, while the fruit in Hedwig's garden is only for family Höss.

On the other hand, you have Klaus Höss, a bully to his younger brother, who is seen inspecting the teeth that have been removed from the mouths of Auschwitz prisoners. The audience is shown a child who is fascinated by the suffering of others. The fact that it is one of the few times we are physically shown what is being done to the prisoners inside Auschwitz highlights that we should take note of what this guy is doing. The literal walls that Rudolf Höss erected to separate his family from the crimes he was committing metaphorically crumble and Klaus is not horrified. Again, like the Polish girl, the audience is not told why Klaus is doing this. Obviously, they can assume that, like their father, he has Nazi values, but at the same time, Rudolf hides the most brutal aspects of this world from his children. the audience doesn't know how Klaus would have even gotten those teeth.


If you liked “The Zone of Interest”, watch this exciting biographical drama

The acclaimed drama explores “the banality of evil” a decade before “The Zone of Interest.”

In these inexplicable motivations and backstories, the audience can see Glazer's point. The actions of these children are not influenced by their backgrounds, but by its nature and its response to its current environment. These two children represent the good and evil within everyone. From selflessly sneaking apples to prisoners to inspecting human teeth, it is in these actions that Glazer presents us with both ends of humanity and makes us wonder which side we might fall on.

The most intriguing moment in “The Zone of Interest” is a subtle nudge at introspection

During the film, six-year-old Hans hears a commotion outside his window. It is revealed that a prisoner was fighting over an apple, perhaps a comment on how no good deed goes unpunished. When Rudolf Höss orders the prisoner to be drowned, Hans turns from the window and whispers, “Don't do it again.” It's a disturbing moment that can be interpreted differently. It could be said that Hans was simply telling the prisoner that he was obeying and therefore possesses the same nature as Klaus or Rudolf. However, it could also be interpreted as Hans telling himself not to look out the window again. In it, Jonathan Glazer presents us with the most common aspect of human nature. Not to be brave or evil, but simply to get away from the evils that happen.

What is most intriguing is that the characters Glazer uses to present the possible future of humanity are children, the literal future of humanity. With the younger boy unwilling to look at the horrors outside his window, Glazer presents this weakness as understandable. He's not lecturing the audience about how they should be better, he's presenting the problem in a way that can be solved. That kid could grow up to be better. Likewise, so can the eldest son, Klaus, before doing anything unforgivable. In line with this, could the nameless Polish girl also lose her way? Even Rudolf Höss collapses at the end of The Zone of Interest as the crushing weight of what he is doing begins to sink in. Maybe Höss could change yet. When one is so stuck in one's ways, such a change would be painful if it did not sicken one's original nature. This is why Rudolf continues after gagging. For him, it is too late, his sins are committed and cannot be forgiven. But the children of tomorrow still have a chance and this makes them the most intriguing characters of all.

Glazer shows viewers that things can change and that ultimately it is in the audience's own ability to choose which side of human nature they want to represent and that is a choice that is not made once and then installs stone If the audience is to fully understand Glazer's intent The Area of ​​Interestso it is the characters who carry the future of humanity, the children, to whom the audience must pay more attention.

The Area of ​​Interest is available to stream on Max in the US



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *