Actors Christian Friedel and Sandra Hüller, protagonists of the film The Zone of Interest, at the Cannes Film Festival, May 20, 2023.
Cannes – Drama The Zone of Interest about the commander of the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz and his family, earned a six-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday night.
Photo gallery: 76th Cannes Film Festival
The German actor Christian Friedel, who portrayed the Auschwitz commander Rudolf Höss in the film by the British director Jonathan Glazer, confided after the premiere that the sight of himself as the Nazi commander of the extermination camp scared him, writes the Reuters agency. “The challenge for us in this project was to find authenticity in those situations,” Friedel told reporters after the premiere of the film based on Martin Amis's novel Zone of Interest. “I watched the movie a second time and I felt very uncomfortable because there were some scenes where I was like, 'OK, that was me,' and that scares me,” he added.
The Zone of Interest is Glazer's first film to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival. According to him, the film, which was shot entirely in Auschwitz, is to show that everyone is capable of violence. “We think we could never act like that, and we don't act like that, but I guess we shouldn't be so sure,” remarked the director of Sexy Beasts, Birth and Under the Skin.
The Zone of Interest tells the story of the first commander of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Rudolf Höss, and his wife, who built a home right next to the place where the Nazis murdered more than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews.
According to the AP agency, the film earned not only a standing ovation after the screening, but also excellent critics. It quickly became a favorite for the top prize, the Palme d'Or, which will be awarded on Saturday, May 27, AP reported today.
Britain's BBC and The Daily Telegraph gave the film top ratings, with the film called “terrifying in its banality”. The Variety server noted that the family idyll and the indifference of the commander and his family to the constant screams of prisoners, gunshots and smoke from gas chambers form an “ominous contrast”. After the premiere, the film earned a six-minute standing ovation. German actress Sandra Hüller, whose character of the “Queen of Auschwitz” is the scariest in the film, received loud applause, according to Variety.